This blog post is for all of the men out there. If you’ve ever felt embarrassed by going to the drug store and purchasing a box of condoms, there’s now a service for that. A recent TechCrunch article highlights the um, burgeoning subscription condom service market. Finally, the subscription economy gets some protection.
Rubber of the Month Club, DollarRubberClub, Lucky Bloke, Big Richard, or for the classy fellow– Sir Richard’s Subscription Condom Service all offer a monthly condom delivery service. You sign up, tell them how many you want per month, and then receive a “discreet” package in the mail once a month.
All of the services’ sites recognize the somewhat giggle-inducing nature of what they do, so they spice up their membership offerings with naming conventions like “busy bee” (for those requiring 12 condoms a month) and “beast mode” (for those requiring 18 condoms a month). Some sites, like Rubber of the Month Club, give you somewhat immature reasons why you should use the service (you don’t want children, you don’t want to be embarrassed at the drug store, you’re cheap, etc). And many of the services give “extras” like lube and toys for certain premium memberships.
TechCrunch’s initial article purports that condom services are impractical and therefore unnecessary, but the author is being a bit myopic. The key point here is that condoms are just another product that is becoming a subscription service– whether or not he thinks it’s practical for his life is irrelevant if there is a community out there that is interested. The bigger picture is this: the surprising number of subscription condom services is yet another example of how much the Subscription Economy is going to ah, penetrate our lives. Today it’s condoms, tomorrow it could be deodorant or shampoo or heck, toilet paper.
There are several reasons why both consumers and businesses benefit by a move to subscriptions. For businesses, they lock in recurring revenue streams instead of one-time transactions. Businesses get valuable data from their customers about their preferences, allowing them to upgrade, promote, or otherwise target the specific needs of their customers. With condom services, this means extras, different packages, etc.
And despite what the TechCrunch author says, there’s clearly a market for subscription condoms. For consumers, subscribing to product services is exceptionally convenient and often cheaper. As an example, the same principle that applies to condoms applies to Amazon’s exceptionally popular diaper service.
- No hassle: The customer doesn’t have to worry about forgetting to order because someone does it for them at a predetermined interval.
- Flexibility: The business emails the customer a couple days before shipping, so the customer has the chance to say “nope, this was a low usage month, skip this shipment.”
- Low cost: Businesses reduce the cost of the product to the customer. So it’s cheaper to buy condoms or diapers through a service than through a grocery store or pharmacy.
The truth is, subscription condoms are only the beginning. Companies like Rubber of the Month Club are thrusting themselves into the conversation because there’s opportunity. We should expect other
“discrete” subscription services in the coming months. Can subscription lingerie, hair gel, medical creams, and tampons be far behind?