Graze.com: A case study of an e-Business Subscription Model

Recently I stumbled upon an innovative site which I really liked.  The site is Graze.com (www.graze.com) 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 Graze.com showing a variety of snacks, the famous cardboard box and a simple diagram of how the site works
A screenshot of the main page Graze.com 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 Graze.com
Some Breakfast Snack Variety by Graze.com

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!

Published by

Kristel Jo Bishop

Mrs Kristel Jo Bishop B.Sc.(Bus.&Comp.)(Melit.),B.Com.(Hons)(Melit.),M.B.A.(e-business)(Melit.) Kristel Jo Bishop read her degrees in B.Sc. Business and Computing and later B.Com (Hons) in Management at the University of Malta. Her thesis focused on the Internet as an effective marketing research tool, a topic which back in 2000, was still in its infancy. She then joined Alert Communications (now Alert Group) as Marketing Executive. Apart from working in e-marketing projects in an industry that was rapidly evolving, she also wrote weekly articles featuring reviews of websites for local newspapers. As her role at Alert Communications grew to encompass larger web and multimedia projects, Kristel Jo pursued an M.B.A. in e-Business at the University of Malta where she obtained distinction in 2004. Her dissertation looked at Knowledge Management in Small and Medium Sized Organisations and the use of knowledge portals as a tool which helps SMEs exploit and use their knowledge. At Alert Communications, as Business Development Manager, she led teams through both Multimedia and Web Projects of different scales, involving both foreign and local clients and private companies and central government. Since 2006, she has lectured in various courses for the University of Malta in e-Marketing and e-Strategy and also as an independent lecturer in A-level Marketing.