If you don’t know what a subscription box is, don’t worry – you soon will. What started life as a way for retailers to arrange for gift delivery has turned into an industry in its own right in the US, and it is taking hold in the UK; current estimates put the number of subscription boxes available to UK consumers at about 150 (compared to between 400 and 600 in the US) and that figure is rapidly growing. As the newest kids on the block, we know here at Boxcitement that not everyone knows or understands how subscription boxes work or what they contain, so we thought we’d start our blogging life with a bit of an intro on this growing industry – one we’re very excited about becoming part of.
Consumers (i.e you and me) are now much more familiar with buying goods over the internet and receiving a monthly product or service and buying habits are evolving: who would have thought a few years ago that the model for renting DVDs would change so thoroughly but Blockbuster went bust in Jan 2013 and the monthly services LoveFilm and Netflix now dominate that market. Have you heard of the snack box Graze, a customer-configured subscription box which people can have delivered to them in the office? It was one of the first boxes to launch here and Graze has now become the fastest growing food company in the UK.
So just what is a subscription box?
Wikipedia describe subscription boxes with typical pizzaz: “…a package of retail products sent directly to a customer on a reoccurring basis”. There are basically two types: convenience and surprise/discovery.
Perfect for the ‘time-poor’; the last thing there is time to do after a busy day at the office and a tiring trudge home is shop – especially for boring basics. There is now no need; simply sign up to a subscription box and socks, groceries, razors and sanitary towels will be delivered to your letterbox on the same day each week or month.
Examples of this type of subscription box for women include ones which delivers knickers to your door monthly or as a gift to others. Or for men there is King of Shaves where you can set up a subscription that delivers shaving essentials that follow your shave plan (i.e. how often you shave), so you never run out of essential supplies and equipment.
Then there is the food box Hello Fresh who, in their own words: “deliver delicious, healthy, easy recipes to your door every week. Along with all the ingredients you need to cook them perfectly. Simple!” These convenience type boxes are all able to solve problems for consumers whilst providing novel and innovative solutions they may not otherwise have found for themselves.
Surprise subscription boxes provide an element of mystery and discovery, like receiving a birthday or Christmas present through the post from a relative with impeccable taste every month. Many offer a sneak peak at the contents of future boxes and a gallery of previous boxes to give you a flavour of the type of thing you’ll receive, without spoiling the all-important reveal. Boxcitement boxes fall into the category of ‘surprise’; we describe our service as rather like a magazine subscription where you pay up front, letting the editor’s skill and judgement ensure that the articles in the magazine are interesting and well presented. You will have a fair idea that you like the magazine from past editions, adding to the air of anticipation, which is part of the enjoyment of having the subscription in the first place.
These types of box are more about spending a modest amount of money to receive a regular treat or surprise in the post, making them a fun experience for the subscriber. Customers enjoy the anticipation of discovering what is inside, and they receive products they will not have known about otherwise. In the case of Boxcitement all our products are created exclusively for us and are not available elsewhere; a monthly exclusive surprise!
What else is out there?
The most well-known subscription boxes in the UK are mostly marketed to women and are focused on beauty products, with a focus on new or established brands. Other boxes send out nail polishes, fragrances, coffee, lifestyle products, jewellery and gifts – the list goes on!
What all these boxes have in common is their benefits for the consumer – customers often receive discounts on products by buying them this way. Many subscription boxes are offered in tiered levels of value as well as frequency of delivery which allows them to be affordable, especially when you take into account that they regularly have products in them that are of greater value than the subscription itself, allowing customers to save money on products they already know they enjoy and will use.
How do they work?
The process of subscribing to a box is automated once the order is processed, with the customer continuing to receive the product and maintain the subscription with minimal effort until they decide to stop. Most boxes are also sold as one-off purchases allowing customers to try them out, and also as gift subscriptions which provide innovative and long-lasting presents. The purchasing process is easy; with Boxcitement it is completed in a few clicks on our simple website and is no more involved than a normal online purchase. Cancellation is simple, and lots of companies offer ‘subscription holidays’ which allow you to pause your subscription for a few months if you have an expensive event coming up or are planning to travel.
How long am I committed?
How long you stay with the subscription is up to you; it’s up to the creators of the boxes to keep providing content that will amaze and satisfy you so that you form a lasting relationship with their service. Lots of boxes have engaged communities of loyal customers who contribute ideas and images through social media; it’s what helps to make these boxes unique and makes them stand out in a crowded consumer marketplace.
Where does Boxcitement fit in?
It’s an exciting time to be getting involved in the UK subscription box industry, with more quality boxes becoming available all the time. Boxcitement are proud of what we have achieved and will continue to create fantastic boxes to surprise and delight our subscribers. Our particular range of exclusive, well-designed gifts, stationery and homewares with the emphasis on innovative and contemporary design is not available in other gift boxes in the UK; why don’t you try us out and see what you think?
How do I find out more?
There are lots of site directories now in the UK which gather all the subscription boxes available here into one place, with descriptive product reviews and informative articles. Two of our favourites are All Subscription Boxes and Subscription Radar, which have reviewed Boxcitement along many other boxes in many other categories. Read a Subscription Radar review of Boxcitement and check out their website for lots more information!