Looking Inside the Crate with the New York Times: Rental and Subscription Platforms

A couple of weeks ago, Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times wrote a great piece about the surge of consumer rental platforms that has surfaced over the past several years, and this piece resonated with us. From Uber and Lyft to Rent the Runway and Le Tote, there are now an unlimited number of ways to rent even the most basic services and products. And while the average consumer is spending significantly less money on certain aspects of their life, rental businesses everywhere are thriving, and the phenomenon only appears to be growing.

What’s our point of view on rental businesses? We think it is a good thing for consumers. An amazing thing, in fact. One of the major keys that makes the rental platform so successful (aside from the financial aspect for both buyer and seller) is this idea of “continuous excitement” and receiving something new on a regular basis. (Sounds like subscription, right?)

“Anticipating a new belonging can bring more happiness than actually owning it, studies have shown, and everyone knows how quickly the glow of a new purchase wears off,” writes Miller.

This notion of thrill and suspense is exactly what makes Cratejoy and the idea of subscription-based products so crucial to the modern ecommerce user experience. When a customer registers with Root Bizzle, Cratejoy’s “Tie of the Month” seller, that customer is feeling firsthand the exhilaration that Miller refers to in her piece. It is precisely the feeling that Cratejoy hopes to replicate with each of our sellers’ subscribers.

Secondly, and perhaps even more interestingly, the rental service model supports the consumer’s move towards true atomization in the goods and services that they want (and maybe even need). Translation? Thanks to continued innovation in technology and ecommerce, we now spend money on ONLY what we want or need most. We can secure a Zipcar for a day trip to the beach, instead of taking out a three-year lease on a Honda, for example. Subscription models support this atomization as well, in that consumers can commit to the brands, goods, and services that they truly love (and again, may need) on a recurring basis while removing anything extraneous that doesn’t truly delight them.

The truth is, people don’t want to be stuck with a product. They want something fresh and new. They want to be surprised and delighted. That’s what subscription is all about.

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