During the past few years, e-commerce marketers have been innovating by creating subscription boxes. Birchbox was an early success story (2010) in the beauty products category. Its two founders agreed that shopping for beauty products “was frustrating, inefficient, and confusing.” There were too many options and that did not encourage trial. There was no way to try products online without spending a lot of time and money.
Consumers are more and more used to taste testing and expect that brands will approach them in new ways. Boxes allow online sellers to test new products and then act as a reminder to buy. This is especially the case with consumables, like razor blades, where Dollar Shave Club has been so successful.
Retailers ask customers to build personal profiles with simple questions through an online form, including applicable questions(e.g. body type and favorite colors). The shorter and more fun the profile-building process is, the better.
Importantly, subscription boxes provide a regular touchpoint with your customer, giving you a regular brand-building opportunity and loyalty. Ongoing revenue and customer retention are the big wins for ecommerce companies. Once someone’s on a box subscription for a product like razors, unless there’s a negative customer experience or a service, they’ll continue to buy. Brands benefit too by gaining a capability to plan stock, build margins, and improve their forecasting.
Online marketplaces have developed to help find audiences for subscription boxes. Cratejoy does a great job of curating subscription boxes for every lifestyle. I always look forward to their emails promoting new discoveries.
Other Notable Examples of Subscription Boxes
Numerous other brands use the subscription box model, including those for specialized products, luxury or premium goods. Sprezza for men’s apparel and Stitch Fix for women’s and men’s apparel have been gaining customers. Adidas Avenue A sends quarterly athletic wear to subscribers. Even cleaning products seller The Honest Company has boxes to encourage trial.
Let’s Get Creative
If your e-commerce marketing group is interested in adding print marketing to attract new customers and build ongoing revenue and loyalty, look no further than Hansel Group Marketing. Whether it’s catalogs, retail mailers, or programmatic postcards, we can help you evaluate and manage your print programs.
Contact us today. We work on a project and retainer basis with clients across the U.S., including e-commerce companies in many categories.
Photography Credit: By Daniel G. Wells III – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46112515