Subscription Boxes: Here Today or Here to Stay?

The basic concept isn’t new: the subscription business model is a solid marketing strategy, and has been in use for decades now. There has been a huge boom in the industry recently, yes, but it really is just an improvement of a time-honored tradition. For example, Harry and David’s Fruit of the Month Club has been serving subscribers since 1937, and was originally known as the Box of the Month. The Book of the Month Club was founded even earlier, tracing its roots back to 1926. Both are not only still alive and kicking, but also thriving, even in today’s competitive market.


Harry & David’s original Fruit of the Month Club is now only one of over 20 the company offers.


Convenience and Discovery in the Digital Age

The current resurgence of the subscription box service industry would not have been possible without the Internet and the invention of eCommerce. These days, almost everything can be ordered and bought online; in just a few clicks, you can buy almost anything without even having to go outside–from socks to vitamins; and, of course, last minute birthday and anniversary presents. Lazy and forgetful people have never had it this good! And for most, subscription boxes are a natural evolution of this modern convenience.

If there’s one thing that physical stores have over online shops, it’s that feeling you get when you’re walking in between aisles and displays–just browsing, not shopping for anything in particular–and you suddenly see something that you want and just have to get. Sure, you can approximate this by browsing an online shop’s whole inventory; but it’s not as exciting, and it’s often a tedious process involving clicking link after link, and opening new tabs. Subscription box services bring the joy of discovery to online shopping, in a very streamlined and painless way. They give people who have grown up with the Internet around a chance to experience and be surprised by new things without ever having to leave their comfort zone; and this, more than anything, is likely what will keep the subscription box service industry relevant for years to come.


Birchbox was one of the first modern subscription boxes to break through and take advantage of the Internet.


Small Batch Products Delivered to Your Doorstep

More than huge conglomerates and industry giants, it’s the little guys that we need to look at here. With subscription boxes on the rise, companies that produce artisanal and small batch products have a better chance of making it; because people who love getting unique and handmade items now have an easy way to patronize these businesses. There are many subscription box services that specifically target this consumer base! Mouth is a great example, and so is Mantry.

Curated boxes are a godsend when you want to support small enterprises but don’t know where to start. Apart, artisanal products and subscription boxes may be considered flash in the pan ventures, but when put together, these complementary ideas both come alive and have a chance to effect permanent change.



Treating Yourself Right Even When the Budget Is Tight

For people who don’t have time to shop or often forget to take care of themselves, subscription boxes can be a blessing: a monthly gift and a regular reminder to sit back, relax and focus on self-care for a moment. The best part is that you can easily fit this into your budget; there are many options out there, and you will easily be able to find a subscription box that caters to your interests, for the right price.

This is another compelling argument for the continued existence of subscription boxes: the typical price tag. Not only do most services promise that the overall value their boxes’ contents surpass their monthly fees, but what you pay for in the first place isn’t even at all that expensive. Some subscriptions, like makeup boxes from Beauty Box 5 and BeautyArmy, go for less than $10 a month with annual plans; only the most luxurious and decadent box services go above $65.


Like BeautyArmy, a Beauty Box 5 subscription is $12 monthly; but with an annual plan, the price of each box drops to less than $10.


A Current and Continuing Phenomenon

While it is true that some subscription boxes don’t have staying power–they might be gimmicky, too expensive, or maybe simply just too niche to gain enough of a following to keep on going–there are some who will survive long after others have closed their doors and shuttered their windows for good. They just need to continue doing what all great subscription boxes do: innovate and reinvigorate the market, give subscribers both the power of choice and the element of surprise, and provide great value for money without being unoriginal. To come full circle: the Fruit of the Month and Book of the Month Clubs are no longer unique, but they are two of the first, and they’re still going strong–after over 75 years of business! The list of quintessential subscription boxes can only grow from here.