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From Suzanne Mackie 

Scottish companies are being urged to investigate how their sales could be supported by the subscription e-commerce model. Edinburgh-based digital agency Pretty Klicks believes this model, which is growing in popularity, will be one of the top trends in e-commerce 2014

It has already paid dividends for businesses such as Graze Box. The company, which was founded by a group of friends in 2009, now employs over 350 people and issues 300,000 boxes a week. Its latest annual results show its turnover has almost doubled to over £20m and profit has almost trebled to £9.5m.

Managing Director of Pretty Klicks Stefan Pretty, said “The subscription model has come a long way since the ‘fruit of the month’ Christmas gifts of the 1990s.This evolution of the ecommerce model offers companies many benefits and we believe it is one that companies in Scotland, who are constantly having to investigate new avenues for marketing and sales engagement, could really benefit from.”

Flavourly, a gourmet food subscription site based from Edinburgh, has almost 7000 Facebook followers even though the business is little over a year old.

Hollywood actress Jessica Alba secured $25m of investor support to establish The Honest Company which provides families with eco-friendly products. The model is also being used by businesses such as software company Adobe, allowing it to continually and innovate its products.

Stefan added, “The subscription ecommerce model allows companies to build a deeper relationship with their customers – allowing a loyalty and trust to be developed. In this age of discovery, there can often be too much choice. The beauty for the consumer is the service can provide products to suit your tastes that you may otherwise not have come across. It also supports smaller and niche businesses, for instance a gourmet food producer, reach out.

“The model can work for many consumer-facing businesses, as well as having applications in corporate markets, and will be one that will increasingly be on the public and retailers’ radars as we enter 2014.”

Pretty Klicks is a multi-disciplinary web agency based in Edinburgh specialising in web design, search engine optimisation, branding and social media.

Suzanne Mackie is Director of Hummingbird Communications (Scotland) Ltd