Subscription Boxes: A New Era of Online Shopping


Just a few of many subscription boxes out there. Photo courtesy of Cratejoy

Ordering a package and having it arrive on your doorstep gives one feelings akin to receiving a birthday present.

Except you know what it is.

And you paid for it.

Ok, so it resembles a present to a lesser degree, but tearing open a box to retrieve your prize still gives us that rush of adrenaline you used to feel when people gave you toys for gifts. There’s no shame in sending presents to yourself, oftentimes we only receive gifts from others a couple times a year, and frankly that isn’t enough to satiate a person’s present quota.

Thankfully, there’s a way to send yourself regular gifts that are a complete surprise to you (although they are often centered around a theme). Subscription boxes! They’re typically monthly piles of stuff you’re interested in sent straight to your home. If you want some snacks, there’s over 50 choices with tons of different kinds. Need some knick knacks for your desk? Need a monthly box of a never-ending stream of knick knacks to clutter your desk and question why you’re doing this to yourself? There’s tons of choices for that too! Whether it’s comics, games, anime, there’s plenty of nerdy goods for you to scatter all over your home.

Photo courtesy of Kawaii Box

Makeup seems to be the big player of the monthly box scene; with Birchbox doing so well, they’ve opened two retail stores in Washington D.C. and New York City. Retail giants such as Sephora and Target are quickly getting into the scene, offering their own subscription services in the emerging business model to help boost sales.

The good thing about subscription boxes is that they offer benefits to both the seller and the buyer. A lot of companies buy their items wholesale at a cheaper price due to the fact that they are putting the same things in every box, and don’t have to risk over-ordering and wasting money since they already know the number of subscribers they’ll be sending boxes. For consumers, because of these wholesale prices they’re able to buy items that interest them all together at a cheaper price, and receive them all at the same time. Subscription boxes are an undoubtedly genius idea, satisfying both sides of the market in terms of price and service.

There are difficulties with subscription services at the same time, such as getting your name out there when starting one of these boxes. The market has become extremely saturated because of the success of the monthly goodies, and the best way to succeed now, is to have already been established in the past. For some, this obviously isn’t possible, and without connections, are prone to having to cancel their services when it just isn’t worth it with a lack of subscribers to justify the costs. For consumers, there’s the obvious risk of buying things without knowing exactly what you’ll be getting. Even if you buy a specialized box that’s supposed to be full of items you’ll like, there’s still a heavy chance of chucking something into the give-away bin. The more subscribers a box has, the more likely they deliver a good range of products and satisfy customers; which is why the old boxes get bigger, and the new boxes struggle.

Photo courtesy of Birchbox

The culture behind the boxes stems from online shopping, and how convenient it’s become. It’s gotten to the point where you can literally press a button, and have the product show up on your doorstep a few days, even hours later. With subscription boxes, you don’t have to do anything, and they’ll show up every month. Convenience has become extremely vital in our modern age, being the focus of many innovators who strive to make our lives easier. You could completely eliminate your need for shopping trips if you subscribed to a few different subscription boxes, which carry a huge variety of products.

There are plenty of reasons subscribers view these boxes as worth it. They’re convenient, and typically a good deal. They offer a sort of high-class vibe to them; items are being picked for each box to cater to your interests, it’s almost like having a personal shopper. It’s also a boost of self-esteem when it feels like someone is catering directly to you. The personal touch of subscription boxes is what keeps people coming back for more, and will continue to attract new customers for many years into the future.

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About mariamos2

Mari Amos provides the comics for the site, as well as a variety of different news/opinion pieces.

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