Subscription goods, the service of the future for the profit of manufacturers


It's time to be honest that some companies have lost touch with reality. In crisis

производители ищут дополнительные источники income, which makes sense. But they find ways that are completely non-obvious and predictably bad for the consumer. The news that BMW for a number of countries make some of the options paid, that is, available by subscription, made some noise. Using the example of South Korea, let's look at the cost of such paid options:

  • Heated seats: $18 per month, $176 per year, $283 for three years, or $406 forever;
  • Heated steering wheel: $10 per month, $161 for three years, or $222 forever
  • Apple CarPlay $304 all-time, additional engine sounds on stereo $137;
  • Automatic headlight dimming: $8 per month, $84 per year, $122 for three years, or $183 forever.

BMW has already experimented with this approach,I think you remember the unsuccessful attempt to charge extra money for Apple CarPlay, the idea turned out to be a failure. And here is the reincarnation of the old approach, when a product is turned into a service. This approach reminds me of the elevators in some apartment buildings in poor countries, where you had to pay for the ride in specie.

Source: pikabu.ru

The cost of heating the steering wheel for BMW is about 10dollars, that is, the company wants to take the full cost from the subscriber per month. Well, for other things, it’s about the same alignment, but it’s not this that causes indignation, but the fact that the buyer is already paying for all the components. That is, when buying a car, you do not get heated seats, steering wheel, headlight adjustment for free - all this is included in the cost of the car, and no one gives you discounts if these options are present in the car. But then the most curious thing begins - they are trying to take extra money from you for already paid functions, creating inconvenience for you. And this is an extremely bad approach that should not be encouraged, as companies can get into the habit and start offering something like this all the time.


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It is quite legitimate to say that Tesla was the firstalong the way, turned the car into a gadget and began to charge extra money for certain options. But even at Tesla they tried not to go too far, they did it more gracefully. On one of the American sites I came across excellent comments about the attitude towards Tesla and extortion from BMW, read the review:

“I remember when I bought my first Tesla many years ago… I was blown away by all the free software updates I got.

With every update something got better ornew features were added. Not one or two - it was a constant stream of updates. I have always liked seeing a pop-up notification that a “Software Update” is available.

By the way, most of them werefree, and the packages they ended up charging for seemed fair to me. For example: I paid $2k to have them install the latest Full Self-Driving (FSD) 3.0 computer when I had an old 2.0 unit. Which I thought was fair and worth it, because it was definitely faster/better. I could see it.

Never before have I had a car that got better over time. It was a strange but pleasant feeling.

In any case, at the time, I thought that the old automakers would abuse this approach and start charging money for everything if they started doing the same.

Here we are… shaking our heads in bewilderment.

I think we'll find out if it's a good idea or a bad one.It may be convenient to receive some packages and/or features after purchase, or if you only want to use them for a few months of the year. However, I don't believe in old automakers, especially luxury brands. I've owned a bunch of their cars and I know firsthand that their greed knows no bounds."

In this comment, in my opinion, they groped the mostthe main thing: an attempt to introduce a subscription to standard options is doomed to failure, since they are perceived as part of the product. Let's look at the computer market. You buy a laptop but don't expect it to have all the software you need. And you are ready to buy an office suite, a graphics editor, and so on. That is, there is no doubt that you need certain packages to work, but the computer also allows you to install free programs, this is your choice of what to use. And all the software is something extra. On the example of cars, we can refer to the same Tesla experience. In the US, you can connect Tesla's Premium Connectivity Package for $9.99/month or $99/year, which includes:

  • Live Traffic Visualization
  • Sentry Mode - View Live Camera
  • Satellite View Maps
  • video streaming
  • caraoke
  • Music streaming
  • Internet Browser

In addition, all traffic on the side of the SIM card fromTesla, you don't pay for it. You use the in-flight entertainment system, and such a subscription is worth the money, moreover, you understand what you pay for. And now compare it with the basic steering wheel heating function (yes, nowadays it is already a basic thing in cars of a certain level, and it is also in mass cars). In one case, I understand what I am paying for, in the second I do not have such awareness.

It is clear that car manufacturers are herethe first, but other companies may follow as we grow dozens of subscriptions for all occasions. Do you want the 5G module you paid for in your smartphone to work in the operator's network? Pay for it. Curiously, Apple is already taking this money, but not from the buyer of the iPhone, but from the operators, and only once, and not monthly. But at the time of the appearance of the iPhone with the same AT & T, Apple charged a monthly fee for the fact that a person uses data transfer in the phone. An innovative approach that we see walking around the heads of managers in different companies.

It is important to separate different products, for example, fromwe have cars on a subscription, and this is a kind of installment or credit. And inside, in turn, there may be subscriptions to additional options that provide convenience. And there are no questions, you did not buy a car. But when you buy a car and pay for it in full, what kind of subscriptions can there be in principle? Legally, it turns out that some parts of the machine built into it do not belong to you - otherwise what are you paying for? The incident lies in the legal plane, and it is not as simple as it seems at first glance. Did the headlights not adapt to the road because the function was disabled and you had an accident? In court, most likely, they will take your side, the technical possibility is paid, but for some reason it is inactive due to the fault of the manufacturer. The court will not take the side of the same BMW that needs a subscription, it will require you to demonstrate the separate cost of this component - and it is not separate at all, but has already been paid by you upon purchase. And no additional costs are required for operation, since the component is already installed and fully functional.

I do not believe that the subscription model for individualfeatures may gain a foothold in the market, but the fact that it will make the fledgling minds of marketers salivate and look for additional efficiency is undeniable. For us, this means that we need to avoid companies that make such attempts. Otherwise, imperceptibly, we may find ourselves hostage to subscriptions when the purchased goods begin to extort money for certain functions that may be needed at a particular moment.

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