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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.

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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!

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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  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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Business News

Corporate-franchise relationships: How has COVID affected them?

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being a part of a franchise has made sense for a long time for both the corporation and the franchisee, but the long stretch of COVID is adding complications.

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A franchise cup on a wooden table.

Americans love a franchise. We love knowing that every Dunkin Donuts iced coffee will taste the same as it did 3 states away – and every McDonald’s snack wrap will meet our expectations.

Franchises rose in popularity after World War II, and the corporate-franchise relationship since has generally been a happy one – that is, until COVID-19.

What’s their relationship?

Franchises are easier to start than a small business from scratch. You receive a business playbook and brand loyalty from corporate – if the business at large is doing well, chances are your franchise will mirror that. No need for independent advertising!

From the franchises, corporate gets an upfront fee and ongoing royalties. (For a McDonalds franchise, that’s $45k and 4% of monthly gross sales, respectively.)

Basically, it’s win-win. Both parties are happy.

Pandemic strain

The pandemic has shrunk margins across most industries, and the chain hotels, restaurants and services have been hit hard. As a result, corporate is adding more costs for franchisees, such as big cleaning bills and promotional discounts to bring back some revenue during COVID.

However, with corporate still taking the same amount from the franchises every month, these newly instated policies threaten to drive some stores into the ground – and franchisees are fighting back.

“I get that franchising isn’t a democracy,” said a Subway franchisee, who objected to the unprofitable “2-Subs-for-$10” promotion that corporate was pushing for. “But at the same time, it’s not a dictatorship.”

What I see here is corporate greed at work; they need to keep their margins up in a sinking economy, so they’re looking to the pockets of their franchisees to make up for that lost dough.

The pandemic has not been easy on any business (with the exception, of course, of Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla, which is a whole other story). However, that’s the draw of being connected to corporate – you are tied to something bigger than your individual store, and will thus stay afloat as long as they do. It’s a big reason why many opt for starting a franchise as opposed to starting their own, independent small business.

I’m glad to see individuals fighting back against corporate policies that don’t benefit them. They held up their side of the bargain – let’s see if corporate can continue to hold up theirs.

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Business News

What to do if you think you have been wrongfully terminated

(BUSINESS NEWS) Being fired hurts, but especially if you were wrongfully terminated. Here is what you can do if you need to take action.

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Stressed man staring at computer after being wrongfully terminated.

While there are plenty of ways an employer can legally fire an employee, there’s also a long list of unethical and illegal methods. If you suspect you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job, it’s imperative that you fight back.

Common Signs of Wrongful Termination

Research shows that around 150,000 people are unjustly fired every year in the United States. That’s more than 410 people per day – roughly 17 people per hour. Here are some common signs that you’re a victim:

  • Violation of written rules or promises. The vast majority of employment is known as “at-will” employment. This means you may be fired at any time for any reason (so long as the reason is not illegal). However, if there’s a written statement or contract that implies job security, then you’re probably not an at-will employee. Review all of your employment documents to see what sort of language exists around the topic of termination.
  • Discrimination. It doesn’t matter if you’re an at-will employee or not, employers can never fire someone based on discrimination. It’s illegal – point blank, period. If you suspect you’ve been fired because of your color, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or pregnancy, discrimination could be to blame.
  • Breach of good faith. Employers are known to breach good faith when they do things like mislead employees regarding their chances for promotions; fabricate reasons for firing; transfer or fire an employee to prevent the collection of sales commissions; and other similar situations.

Every situation is different, but these three signs are clear indicators that you have a potential wrongful termination claim. How you proceed will determine what happens next.

How to Respond to a Wrongful Termination

Emotions tend to run high when you’re fired from a job. Whether you loved the job or not, it’s totally normal to run a little hot under the collar upon being wrongfully terminated. But how you handle the first several hours and days will determine a lot about how this situation unfolds. Now is not the time to fly off the handle and say or do something you’ll regret. Instead, take a diplomatic response that includes steps like:

1. Gather Evidence

Wrongful termination cases are usually more complicated than they first appear on the surface. It’s important that you focus on gathering as much evidence as you possibly can. Any information or documentation you collect will increase your chances for a successful outcome. This may include emails, screenshots, written contracts and documentation, voicemails, text messages, and/or statements from coworkers.

On a related note, remember that your former employer will be doing the same thing (if a claim is brought). Be on your best behavior and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Avoid venting to coworkers or firing off short, snappy emails to your former boss. As the saying goes, anything you say or do can and will be used against you.

2. Hire an Attorney

Don’t try to handle your wrongful termination case on your own. Hire an experienced lawyer who specializes in situations like yours. This will give you a much better chance of obtaining a successful outcome.

3. Get Legal Funding

If you’re like most victims of wrongful termination, you find yourself with no immediate source of income. This can make it difficult to pay your bills and stay financially solvent in the short term. An employment lawsuit loan could help bridge the gap.

As Upfit Legal Funding explains, “Wrongful termination lawsuit loans provide the necessary financial assistance they need to reach a settlement. This funding helps cover basic living costs until the plaintiff is able to get assistance from their settlement.”

The best thing about these loans is that you only have to repay them if there’s a successful outcome. In other words, if the claim gets thrown out or denied, you owe nothing.

4. File the Proper Paperwork

Work closely with your attorney to make sure that your complaints and claims are filed with the appropriate regulatory agencies (and that you meet the required deadlines). Depending on the type of claim, there are different groups that oversee the complaint and can help you move in the proper direction.

Adding it All Up

Getting fired is serious business. And while there are plenty of legal reasons for being terminated from a job, it’s worth exploring what’s actually going on behind the scenes. If it’s found that your employer stepped out of line, you’ll be compensated in an appropriate manner. This won’t typically help you get your job back, but it can provide some financial rectification.

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Business News

Everyone should have an interview escape plan

(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but sometimes things can go south – here’s how to escape when they do.

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interview from hell

“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.

The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.

“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”

My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!

At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.

And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45-minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.

So, why do we put up with it?

Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.

While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.

Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well, and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.

Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.

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