A case study of an e-Business Subscription Model

Recently I stumbled upon an innovative site which I really liked.  The site is ( and it is a website through which customers can take out a weekly subscription on snacks.

Graze serves the British and US market with 2 localised websites and targets people who are after healthy and convenient snacking.  Apart from snacking, Graze also serves other segments namely the breakfast and kids segments along with providing seasonal ranges, gifts both in individual portion or sharing boxes.

A screenshot  of the main page showing a variety of snacks, the famous cardboard box and a simple diagram of how the site works
A screenshot of the main page showing a variety of snacks, the famous cardboard box and a simple diagram of how the site works

The concept behind the website is simple and this has been explained very clearly on the website.  You choose the snacks that you like (from over a hundred), and then Graze will pick four of your chosen snacks in a box and deliver to your home or office on a regular basis (weekly, every two weeks, etc).  You can then snack (or graze….) to your heart’s content on nutritional snacks that are free of GMOs, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.  Customers can manage their subscription so that even when they go on holiday they can postpone the regular deliveries.  Customers can also rate the snacks, thus giving Graze valid market information about trends and what its customers really want!  Graze has turned all the cycle into a learning marketing exercise and customers who want to stop their subscription are asked to fill in questionnaire.

Some Breakfast Snack Variety by
Some Breakfast Snack Variety by

From a customer’s point, the services provided by Graze is very convenient and from the company’s perspective, this model ensures a steady income flow of subscribed customers.   Subscription means that the company automatically has repeat customers (which many times is one of the headaches of online retailers).  The subscription mechanism allows a company to have clear projections about sales and cash flow. Subscription also eliminates a lot of guesswork (or forecasting) and one can also plan more accurately about volume of supplies to serve its base of subscribers.

The website which is very easy to browse, provides full specifics about the products and more important explicit calls for action, nudging the potential customer in the right direction to try them out.  Information about ingredients, allergies and gluten have been addressed with clearly designed labels.  The attention to detail in designing all aspects of the product and the product is really visible.  For example, when it comes to packaging, the snacks are delivered in a cleverly designed recycled cardboard box and the website even gives precise dimensions of the box so that customers can make sure that their Graze box will fit their mailbox!

The Graze Box with 4 slots for an assortment of 4 individually packaged snacks
The Graze Box with 4 slots for an assortment of 4 individually packaged snacks

Back to the web presence, one can see that so much thought has gone into the planning – visually compelling photos, clear diagrams explaining how the subscription works and clear logical text along with branding that gives the product a lot of character.   All in all, Graze are providing a truly differentiated online value proposition!

A Graze customer can get the first box for his or her friends for free and Graze also offers the first box for half price.   There is no doubt that this promotion geared on sharing helps to bring the product to so many more people.  Interestingly enough, the promotion of the first free box is not mentioned anywhere on the website and Graze relies solely on the word-of-mouth of its customers to give out the free boxes.

This sharing and giving has resulted in a very good presence in social media.  There are many videos on YouTube and many have blogged about the Graze product.  Graze has harnessed over 87,000 likes on Facebook UK page and another 80,000 likes on its Facebook US page but its social media presence does not stop there.   Graze is also very active on Twitter and Instagram.

Wish it was available locally!

Online Marketing Tips by Marketing Malta

A bird’s eye view of online marketing

The Internet is brimming with precious information about online marketing. Sometimes seeing a distilled version helps.  These online marketing tips are not meant as the be-all and end-all but a starting point in the right direction.  More tips will be added to this post in due course.

Online Marketing Tips: Content Marketing
Online Marketing Tips: Content Marketing
Online Marketing Tips:  Why is the Marketing Mix still valid?
Online Marketing Tips: Why is the Marketing Mix still valid?
Online Marketing Tips: The 6 Is - Digitial Media Differences
Online Marketing Tips: The 6 Is – Digitial Media Differences

The 6 Is – Digitial Media Differences – that marketers need to keep in mind when designing effective digital marketing strategies. It is not just a matter Interactivity but one needs to factor the amount of customer Intelligence that can be reaped through the interactive aspect. Digital Media allows marketers to achieve one-to-one or Individualisation and online services can be provided Independent of Location. All this has to be done in a context of Integration of outbound and inbound-based communication while keeping in mind possible Industry Restructuring through disintermediation and reintermediation.

Online Marketing Tips: Issues to factor when setting prices online
Online Marketing Tips: Issues to factor when setting prices online

Pricing is already a laborious decision and when it’s pricing for online sales, there’s so much more to consider. From pricing strategies and payment options to other aspects like keeping in mind that if you are providing different prices in different countries this will be transparent and there is a good chance that your customers will soon discover your discrimination tactics….Also the wide knowledge of prices puts competitive pressure on the prices themselves, hence leading to possibly lower prices…..


Online Marketing Tips: How to plan a great product landing page that generates sales
Online Marketing Tips: How to plan a great product landing page that generates sales

If you are selling a product online make sure that you have effective landing pages. Apart from wowing the client with compelling pictures or videos, the page needs to present the product clearly both in terms of text and pictures. Extra links to more detailed information, instructions are important. Ensure that you are actually providing the online purchase facility along with more helpful aspects like links to contact, telephone numbers and possibly even online chat. Include testimonials or product reviews if you have that luxury. And make it shareable on different social media platforms.

Of Product Payment Process

So much we take for granted that when something is amiss it’s like a slap in the face!

Recently I was out shopping for a couple of gifts. At one particular store, the display was so well laid out that it felt like an Aladdin’s cave glittering with trinkets and ‘nice-to-have’ items. The salesmen oozed charm and knew a lot about the products they sell. They presented themselves well, in casual but sleek outfits and perfectly coiffed hair, spoke clearly and in a good pitch, kept eye contact and moved to help me like there was no other care in the world. I was even offered espresso (or maybe water) and I had been in the shop for less than 5 minutes. I did find what I was looking for and  once wrapped in exquisite packages, there was nothing left to be desired!

There was one crux – they did not accept credit or debit card!!

Imagine my surprise, when I heard “either cash or cheque”!

That was such a blow. I did not have a cheque book so I needed to walk back to the car, drive to an ATM and return back to the shop and once again find parking space – no mean feat in traffic-clogged Malta at 11.30 in the morning. Such a waste of time and energy!

I have always believed that the process or processes (including product payment process) surrounding and facilitating the acquisition of a product should be planned out in a way which are easy to understand and implement. They also need to be as user-friendly as possible. This might be coming from my background of system analysis and business-process-reengineering but having efficient and customer-centric services and processes is also a fundamental issue in marketing. I thus wonder why people who have clearly thought out about so many details and layers of their product offering leave out something like ‘payment via card’!  In today’s world, where convenience is key, I have taken payment by card as part of the basic product.

Espresso?!!! I’d rather be allowed to pay by credit card.

Would you like Payment by Card or an Espresso?
In today’s world, we are delighted when we are engaged in exceptional service encounters. What feeling is solicited when we find that expectations like ‘payment by card’ are not available? Would you still enjoy the espresso?