Dogs Are Helping Keep The Subscription Model Alive

Dogs Are Helping Keep The Subscription Model Alive
Delivery & Logistics

Unlike other subscription services that have dwindled, pet supplier BarkBox retains 95% of its subscribers

Leo Lutero
  • 16 april 2018

One fact about trends in the retail space is that they all wax and wane. Birchbox, the service that sent a monthly box of beauty products to subscribers, was a runaway success during its inception in 2011. Now, it has gone through two rounds of layoffs and like many other subscription services, it’s just keeping its head above water. But there is hope in dogs, apparently. Bark, a pet supply company with its own subscription service, makes it seem like there is still room to grow.

Bark, and its monthly service BarkBox, has shipped over 10 million of its boxes since being established in 2012. Founders and dog lovers Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin and Carli Strife have already sent out 70 million toys and treats. But despite these impressive numbers, BarkBox’s most important achievement is its retention rate. Of its over 500,000 subscribers, Bark manages to keep 95%.

The BarkBox follows a theme month after month. There are also doggie treats made from natural ingredients and manufactured either in the U.S. or Canada. The toys come with a guarantee: if the dog doesn’t like them, they can be replaced for free.

Bark takes pride in the care it takes developing its chew toys. Safety isn’t the only factor; toys are also tested to be stimulating enough for canine chompers. The designs are adorable and cartoonish, making it a treat for owners who shower their social feeds with dog photos. Subscribers are encouraged to give feedback on the boxes they get, giving Bark invaluable information while helping the company tailor each BarkBox to each dog. This means the longer they stay on the program, the more “tailor-made” their boxes will be.

Aside from subscription boxes, Bark also has strong presence on physical and online stores. The BarkShop is their own e-commerce site while Target is a major stockist. In an interview with CNBC, Bark’s CEO Matt Meeker said his team acknowledges that there are customers who need to touch the product before they can decide to buy.

Bark, in essence, offers the subscription service as an enhanced way to purchase—not the only way. But subscribers get access to curation and discounts. With strong retail channels, solid return guarantees and a commitment to quality, Bark is eyeing an IPO sometime soon.

Bark

One fact about trends in the retail space is that they all wax and wane. Birchbox, the service that sent a monthly box of beauty products to subscribers, was a runaway success during its inception in 2011. Now, it has gone through two rounds of layoffs and like many other subscription services, it’s just keeping its head above water. But there is hope in dogs, apparently. Bark, a pet supply company with its own subscription service, makes it seem like there is still room to grow.

+beauty
+birchbox
+Canada
+Delivery & Logistics
+dogs
+Food
+Grocery
+home
+pets
+retail
+subscription service
+Virtual Commerce

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