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Popular businesses using the “Netflix of” business model

Subscription services, hoping to be the next Netflix of their industry, are gaining in popularity, here’s a look at some of the most popular offerings.

netflix of

netflix of

Taking a look at the emerging rentconomy

In a world where faster is almost always better, subscription services are looking to be the next “Netflix” of their service industry. Whether you use subscription service to save you money, time, or the hassle of going to the store to return videos, the popularity of these services are definitely on the rise.

Renting over buying seems to be the new, hot thing. It allows you the freedom to change your mind, without committing time and money to buying each product. Subscription services can help you find something you like, that you never thought you would as well. Here is a look at eight different service industries and our favorite “Netflix-like” picks for each:

The Netflix of e-books

  • Oyster offers unlimited access to as many books as you can read for $9.95 a month.  They currently offer over 100,000 titles and if the service does well, more titles to come.
  • ebookfling offers a free service where you “lend” your e-book to someone else. It works like this: you list your e-book, you “lend” it to someone when you receive an e-mail that someone is interested, you borrow any book with earned credit from lending; one lend equals one credit (no credits? you buy a borrow credit for $2.99), and read your new books (you lend or are lent the book for 14 days).

The Netflix of fashion

  • Le Tote expand your wardrobe with three garments, two accessories, and one tote per month for $49. You can change your tote out as many times as you would like during the month selecting another three garments and two accessories. Once they receive the tote back, your next selections are shipping automatically.
  • Tie Society an accessory service for men offering designer ties, cufflinks, and tie clips. Offering free shipping both ways and three levels of pricing: one item at a time is $10.95 a month; three items are $19.95; five are $29.95; and ten items are $49.95. As with Le Tote, you can change items whenever you like; the next item in your virtual closet will be shipping automatically.
  • Bag Borrow or Steal offers designer handbags and accessories ready to be borrowed for the month. Prices vary by item, but shipping is free and if you fall in love with something you have borrowed, you can purchase it too.
  • Lacquerous is a new club that lets you try the newest trends in nail polish without buying a new bottle. For $14.99 a month, you pick three shades, use them for the month, and ship them back. The next month’s selection will ship automatically from your pre-selected favorites. And shipping is free.
  • Gwynnie Bee is a monthly subscription service for women’s fashion, sizes 10-28. You pay a monthly fee of $35-$159 (depending on how many items you want at a time) for access to an unlimited wardrobe with unlimited free shipping. There is also a free 30-day trial period. $35 for one garment out at a time, $59 for two, $79 for three, $99 for five, $129 for seven, and $159 for ten, all level included unlimited exchanges.

The Netflix of gaming

  • Twitch is a popular video game footage streaming service that will be available on Sony’s next-generation PlayStation 4 when it’s released on November 15th in the U.S. and Canada.
  • GameFly offers an extensive range of video games for monthly rental across all popular platforms. For $22.95 a month you can have two games out at a time, with free shipping and no due dates. For $15.95 a month you get one game at a time, along with free shipping. You can switch them out at any time, as many times as you want.

The Netflix of art

  • Turning Art gives the ability to change your art collection as often as you want. Browse thousands of pieces from artists locally and nationally. $8 a month will get you started, but pricing can vary depending on size and the piece.

The Netflix of kid stuff

  • Bundlesy lets you get clothes for your children as often as you like. You can keep it while it fits and return it when they outgrow it. Bundlesy is currently wait-list only, so you will need to request an invitation and then wait for a spot to become available.
  • Pleygo rents Lego play sets at monthly rates. You can change them out when you want with no charge for lost pieces. And rest assured they are cleaned and sanitized thoroughly. For small/medium sets it is $15 per month; small/medium/large sets are $25 per month, and small-large, plus huge sets, are $39 per month, all prices include free shipping.
  • SparkBoxToys sends four high-quality, educations toys in a box, every month. When you are finished, just send them back and get some more. All plans include free shipping and prices vary by how often you want a box. Every eight weeks ($23.95/month), every six ($28.95/mo.), or every four ($35.95/mo.).

The Netflix of e-Learning

  • Mindsy is looking to overpower pay-per-course sites with their new service subscription offers all the video courses you want for $29 per month. They currently have over 5,000 titles in their library, ranging from technology to gaming.

The Netflix of college textbooks

  • Campus Book Rentals offers an alternative to buying textbooks from the campus bookstore. Rental prices vary by title and how long you need the book. You can rent for a quarter (55 days), term (85 days), semester (130 days), or anything in-between with a custom return date. Also, shipping is free both ways.

The Netflix of travel

  • SurfAir is a private air-travel membership that allows you to fly with unlimited access for $1650 per month, with no additional fees. Currently, there is a waitlist, and it is only available for certain destinations in California, but for the frequent flier, this is a great service.

Kicking butt and taking names

While noteworthy, we did not include services like ZipCar, RentTheRunway, and other box subscriptions because they are either paid for “by the piece” or for ownership. This focus of this article was to showcase Netflix-like services with monthly rental fees for products.

The rentconomy has become mainstream and commonly accepted, with businesses getting extremely creative with their new offerings. Whether there is room in your business for a rental vertical, or you are looking for ways to save money, the “Netflix of” business model is kicking butt and taking names, so pay attention!

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.



  1. rolandestrada

    September 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    The rent-economy is certainly interesting and it makes sense for some goods and services. The real estate tech service industry will be particularly interesting, as will tech services in general – i.e. Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.

    The rental economy for for applications I think has offered and will continue to offer opportunities for developers to offer better and lower cost desktop versions of more expensive applications that have chosen to move to subscriptions models. Online isn’t always better.

  2. Pingback: Dollar Beard Club launches for lumbersexuals, parodies Dollar Shave Club - AGBeat

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