3 Bold Predictions For the Next 5 Years


#1

Subscription Overload, Loss Leader Overload and Lifestyle Aggregators

Listen to the episode here:

I predict that by the year 2023, everything we use today in day-to-day life, will become subscription based.

And because there’s going to be an explosion of subscription-based services, there will be what I’m calling Subscription Aggregators. or Sags. And one step up from Sags, will be what I call Lifestyle Aggregators, or Lags.

Finally, there’s going to be an explosion in Loss Leaders.

Listen to the rest of the show on your favorite podcast app or at https://subscribeme.fm/subscription-overload/

And let me know below what you thought about my predictions.

Do they make sense?

How about making a few of of your own predictions for the next 5 years?

– Ravi Jayagopal
Podcast Host of 2 Awesome Shows

  1. https://SubscribeMe.fm

  2. https://CutToTheChase.fm


#2

Hi Ravi,

Long time listener. I think you are right on all 3 predictions. The only thing is they might happen faster than we expect.

Thanks,
Charles Kirkland


#3

Hi @Charles_Kirkland, thanks for listening to my show. I’m glad to hear that you agree with my predictions :slight_smile:

And you’re right - some of them may even happen sooner than the next 5 years!

– Ravi Jayagopal


#4

Hi Ravi I agree that subscriptions have become huge. In fact my brother is founder of an online subscription tracking tool and the data he has been seeing around his few ('000s) of customers now is pretty incredible.

I am personally tracking 59 subscriptions - which I term as any service, tool, ultility bill - anything that constitutes a recurring payment.


#5

@Nino, I know, right? Too many subscriptions for me as well. I see subscription tracking tools like AskTrim growing because of exactly those reasons. I still haven’t signed up for one myself, as somehow I’m still a little bit unnerved by putting all my credit card and bank information into a third-party website.

They apparently use something called a Plaid API, which doesn’t store any of the information. But still, I think I might be one of the late adopters when it comes to trusting so much information with a third-party :slight_smile:


#6

Hey Ravi, happy to tell you the name of the website if not against your forum rules?

Absolutely agree I don’t want to enter in any of my banking details either and this app doesn’t require it.


#7

Sure. Go ahead. It’s in context.


#8

The name of the site is TrackMySubs.com


#9

I disagree quite heavily with this assessment.

Several Silicon Valley startups I’m connected to have told me that they’re seeing “subscription fatigue”, aka “credit card fatigue”.

The middle and upper-middle income consumers that support many subscription services see all these monthly charges that accumulate on their credit card statement, and they go online and cancel several of them at once.

I think this is less likely to be an issue in the B2B subscription space, but in B2C, it’s definitely an issue. There’s even open discussion about it within the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) and other personal finance communities. You see it discussed on forums, Facebook groups, and podcasts.


#10

@jassenb,

“Subscription Overload” is kinda the same as “Subscription Fatigue”.

I agree that people are getting tired of too many subscriptions. That’s actually my point on the episode. But just because people are getting tired of subscriptions doesn’t mean marketers are going to stop selling them.

Just wait till there’s 20 different streaming subscriptions - Disney is coming out with one (Disney Plus), HBO is consolidating, ShowTime, Starz, (and 20 other options on Amazon), Amazon Prime, Netflix is losing shows to Disney, Disney is already invested in Hulu which is partly owned by Fox which is now owned by Disney, Verizon and AT&T and Comcast are working on their own, and then Apple itself is investing hundreds of millions on their upcoming streaming service.

So yeah, a lot more subscription-overload is coming.

Which is why, if you listened to the episode, one of my suggestions, is to actually go the opposite way and sell one-time products.

Here’s the episode in case you wish to give it a listen:

– Ravi Jayagopal


#11

I’ve heard you say regularly about DOSA that this is surprising to me. Are you abandoning the DOSA advice considering what might be ahead with subscription overload?


#12

I have listened to the episode, and like I said, I disagree with the assessment. I cannot be convinced to believe that consumers will mass adopt subscriptions for cars, hotels, computers, flights, etc. that you mentioned. I have not seen a single shred of evidence to convince me that the future of the developed world is that we’ll be renting everything.

You wrote, “But just because people are getting tired of subscriptions doesn’t mean marketers are going to stop selling them.”

Correct. But that doesn’t mean consumers will BUY them. Marketers can put out everything they want, but if consumers don’t buy, it’s a moot point.

You mentioned the different entertainment streaming services. Yes, many exist, and many more are coming. But again, consumers will choose the ones they want, and not subscribe to the rest. For me personally, I have recently cancelled NetFlix, Sling, and Amazon Prime, and only kept Hulu.

Take a look at subscription “box” services. Many of them were started in 2014-2017, and most of the ones that were started have already folded, with more about to fail. Some of the high flyers, especially on the food front, such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, are struggling financially, with massive gross margin issues.

The future of B2C commerce is not subscription based. Consumers aren’t broadly buying into it now, and they won’t in the future, either.


#13

@Marty,

I still think DOSAA (Do Once, Sell Again and Again) is what the long-term plan should be, and not DOGPOO (Do Once, Get Paid Only Once).

What I meant was, that it’s never a bad idea to start selling one-time products if you’re not getting traction in your online business, and to basically stop forcing subscriptions on top products and services that either

a) don’t fit a subscription model (like, an online course, or even a collection of online courses, for eg.) meant to be subscription products, or

b) your buyers are resisting paying subscriptions for what they view as one-off products.

In fact, based on the churn most membership sites have, I would even recommend yearly subscriptions compared to monthly. Make the yearly pricing very favorable, and if it’s all digital info products, then I would even say try adding a “Lifetime” version, which could be the equivalent of, say, 3 years worth of annual payments (be especially careful with lifetime offers if there’s any kind of service or support or manual time involved). Anyway, pricing is something that has to be determined and tested based on the niche, and differs from one business to the other, from one offer to the next.

The ability to charge subscriptions for your products and services is only going to get harder moving forward. So my point was that, as more businesses start thrusting subscriptions on customers, and customers start pushing back, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for your business to sneak in there with a solid, one-time offer, and zig while everyone else is zagging, and try also offering one-time and lifetime offers.

– Ravi Jayagopal
Check out my “Guaranteed Results” Coaching Program


#14

@jassenb,

Let’s just agree to disagree then :slight_smile:

I cannot be convinced to believe that consumers will mass adopt subscriptions for cars, hotels, computers, flights, etc. that you mentioned<<

Blockbuster believed the same thing at one point. They thought no one would pay for DVD’s to be mailed to them, they thought no one has the patience to wait for 3-5 days for a DVD to actually arrive in the mail, then send it back, then wait for the next one.

When Netflix spun off their DVD mailing service, and made streaming their priority, they were trashed by many pundits and naysayers. We all know how that ended for Blockbuster and anyone who didn’t evolve their business model.

There were people who said no one would pay to download music. They also said said NO ONE would pay for a streaming music service, or pay to watch movies online, or buy digital books (Kindle) and audio books (Audible), or pay a yearly fee of over $100 just to get free 2-day shipping, get into a stranger’s car late (Uber), allow strangers to stay in your home - or be willing to stay in a stranger’s home (Airbnb), pay $1200 for a phone, or $800 for a watch that becomes obsolete in 2 years, or buy a new phone every 1-2 years.

Here are some of the subscriptions that the average person has these days:

  • Cable TV
  • Gym
  • Phone (the hardware, because we’re all basically paying monthly installments until we upgrade to the next one)
  • Phone service
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu
  • Web hosting
  • Podcast Hosting
  • SaaS products like Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Business, Canva, Email Service Providers, CRM’s, Shopping Carts, eCommerce Platforms, Payment Providers, WordPress Themes & Plugins, Buffer, SocialBee, there’s about a list of 50 to 200 products in just this category alone that businesses subscribe to
  • MS Office
  • Dropbox, Google Backup & Sync, Carbonite
  • Playstation & XBox (my 15 yr old son has the former subscription)
  • Car Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Payroll and other business infrastructure services

Coming soon: Streaming services from Disney, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc. Hotel subscriptions, airline subscriptions, etc for frequent travelers and businesses.

I could go on for days.

I think the average person is already paying for 30-50 subscriptions. Businesses and entrepreneurs are probably in the 50-100 subscription range.

And don’t forget - a subscription doesn’t have to be called a “subscription” - it can be in the form of a “payment plan” too. So if you are paying $100 a month for your $3000 computer for 30 months, and then after that, you get a new computer and your payments start all over again and the monthly payments continue, then you’re essentially paying a subscription for your laptop, whether you think of it that way, or not.

It’s just incredible that just off the top of my head, and if I just look around my home-office, I can see almost everything is essentially a subscription.

A “loan” usually gets repaid at some point and the payments stop. But a “subscription” is basically a loan that never ends, because you keep re-upping on the product or service - like a new Phone every 1-2 years, a new car every 5-10 years, a new laptop every 3 years, etc. And companies will position these “subscriptions” as “payment plans”: "Pay $X every month, and get a new phone every 1 year, or 2 years. That has been there for 3 years already.

So yeah, whether we like it or not, Subscribe-ocalypse is upon us already. But like all bubbles, it will burst at some point, and there will be consolidation, prioritization, and mergers and restructuring.

And people will watch what they pay for very carefully, and get rid of everything that is “nice to have” and keep paying subscriptions for the “must have” items. And that’s why, I was talking about not forcing subscriptions on what you sell, especially if you’re just getting started, and cannot add enough value to your offer to justify charging for it monthly.

– Ravi Jayagopal
Check out my “Guaranteed-Results” Coaching Program, at:


#15

I have been looking at memberships and subscriptions for seven or eight years… and attended a ‘guru’ conference this spring. As I look at the thousand or so people around me, and heard the amazing stories of fabulous successes, I found myself thinking, "I wonder if this bombardment to join won’t get overdone at some point. Won’t people catch on and stop!!! "
Then I wondered, “what’s next?” Nothing stays the same. Change and improvement, moving forward is necessary … The other option is death. So I’m very interested in Ravi’s insight about all of this. His livelihood depends upon staying on top of things, so I’m inclined to believe what he says. Interesting discussion.


#16

The thing about predictions, bold or not, is that it can make you look incredibly smart and visionary, or incredibly dumb :slight_smile:

I’m willing to take that risk of sounding dumb in a few years, because you cannot be a leader in your space, if you are not willing to have opinions, even though they may be strong opinions. You cannot be a leader by trying to have “safe” opinions. You cannot be a “thought leader” (dislike that word, per se) if you are not willing to speak up, and stand behind your thoughts and opinions. And then also have the humility to accept you were wrong, if and when you are.

I have bet my life and career on a lot of things, and not all of them have gone perfectly.

Back in 1999, when I was still living in India with my wife and my 1 year old daughter, I was struggling to accept payments online. I decided one day that I had to move to the epicenter of eCommerce, and that’s when I moved to the US, in 2000.

I started accepting payments with PayPal and ClickBank. And pretty soon, I realized that you could easily steal the info products that were being sold, because of how insecure the “download” page was. And that’s when I created the world’s first PayPal Download Protector and ClickBank Download Protector. You can see them at my now-extinct website at MyWebmasterInABox.com (which was originally called WebmasterInAbox.net until I got Google-slapped).

I poured in a lot of my nights and weekends into MyWebmasterInABox and BabyNamesIndia.com (my first-even website, also extinct now). I tried to grow my side-business with AdSense, other banner-ad systems (remember Chitika and Bidvertiser?), affiliate links, ebooks (http://babynamesindia.com/ultimate.html), and tried countless other business models over the years.

I’ve sold t-shirts (ProudQuitter.com), mouse-pads, coffee mugs, all kinds of digital products from ebooks to online courses to membership sites to coaching to consulting.

I was one of the earliest WordPress evangelists. I fell in love with it the very first time I used it. And I created my own WordPress blog at RavisRants.com and my very first post on my own blog was in January 2005, at http://ravisrants.com/2005/01/24/ekalavyas-thumb/ .

Around that time, I had also started writing my first ever “real” book (no Kindle back then). And I launched it in 2007 (No Business Like E-Business).

And then as I launched a website for it at NBLEB.com , I wanted to build a list by giving away my book for free. But I didn’t want to give it out all at once - I wanted to publish one chapter at a time. And then, I wanted to automate it. I wanted everyone who joins my list to start from the first chapter. So I wanted to publish all the content ahead of time, but everyone should start at day 1, and chapter 1, and have their own timeline.

That’s when I was thinking of what to call this concept. And I remembered a farming concept that Indian farmers used, that I had learned as a child. It was called “Drip Irrigation”, where, because of lack of resources in India, farmers set up watering systems, that would only drip a few drops of water each time, and keep the crop healthy without spending too much water.

And that’s when I invented the words “Content Dripping” and ContentResponder (like an Autoresponder for emails). And there were no systems available that could drip content like I wanted to, because of course, no one had thought of it before.

And that’s when I created DigitalAccessPass.com , a membership platform for WordPress. Of course, I can’t take much credit for what it has evolved into today, because it’s my wife and co-founder and co-developer of DAP, Veena Prashanth, who is responsible for where it is today, and has become the face of DAP over the last few years.

So I’ve always tried to think ahead and create products and services for marketers, because I’ve always been at the bleeding-edge of tech, mostly because I’m a information-junkie. I love reading up on tech, business, marketing - and keeping tabs on the industry in general. And I’ve released quite a few clunkers in my lifetime.

And it is the combination of my successes and failures, the combination of me being a techie and a marketer at the same time, of being a student and a teacher at the same time, of being an immigrant and a citizen, of having worked in a job for so long, and having been an entrepreneur for so long, and always willing to put my money where my mouth is, and willingness to fail and be ridiculed and be laughed at, is what makes me who I am.

So thank you all for this discussion. I LOVE IT!

I love being challenged, and I want this forum to feel safe for anyone to disagree with anyone else, even if that “anyone else” is me, “Your Moderating Dictator” (a phrase I just stole from someone who used to use it in an email group I was part of, probably about 15+ years ago, when email-based discussion groups were all the rage).

So let the discussions begin. And let’s keep it cordial and professional, and vehemently (but not viciously) disagree, and not make it personal or do any name-calling.

I would love for everyone to be open and honest about their opinions.

And like I said in my original mission statement for this group, I’m hoping for this forum to be one of the best, smartest, safest, most relevant, focused and intelligent online communities for Entrepreneurs & Digital Creators.

Cheers!

– Ravi Jayagopal