By: Jessica Lau
A teenager eagerly peeked through his window. The message on his laptop alerted him that his package will be delivered today. He saw the mailman approaching his house. Then he saw the package being put into his house’s mailbox, and he sprinted outside. He opened it, and there sat the black rectangular box with big bold letters that spelled out LootCrate on the front. He eagerly grabbed the box leaving the other mail in the mailbox. He sat on the edge of his bed, opened the box, and began to explore.
As online shopping becomes more and more popular, subscription boxes have become the new trend. Subscription boxes are monthly or weekly boxes that contain an assortment of products typically with a common theme.
There are beauty boxes, pet boxes and food boxes. The boxes are delivered for the length of a customer’s subscription. Each month the boxes contain personalized items based on the person’s preferred style or previous purchases. Many times there is also a surprise item in the box. Each box will usually cost between $10 and $40 and contain four to seven items.
Kelbert Ang, a freelance theater arts performer said he subscribes to specific box services because they offer things he would not normally find on his own.
“I order the DC and Marvel boxes,” said Ang. “The exclusive items they offer are intriguing. Sometimes, there is a risk of not getting what you expect. However, sometimes the company reveals what the exclusive item is and I usually base it upon that.”
The subscription box trend kicked off in 2010 with the launch of the first beauty subscription box. Birchbox which is a monthly beauty sample subscription service combines discovery and convenience to deliver its customers products they love and have yet to try, straight to their mailboxes.
The subscribers fill out a profile to identify what kinds of beauty products they like, then Birchbox sends the subscriber a customized assortment of products that meet their needs. After the start of Birchbox, many other companies began to follow the trend.
A study by Hitwise, a division of Connexcity, which provides marketers with a sampling of online behavior, shows online box subscribers have grown 3,000 percent in the past three years. The study also shows that average shoppers are mostly female ages 25-44 with a high income and advanced education.
The most popular category for subscription boxes are fashion, beauty products, organic food, eco products and products for kids. Recently, the subscription box Barkbox has become popular.
Jenny Verger, a retail worker at Action Meat Distributors Inc. said, she likes the monthly boxes because they offer so many unique items.
“I order Japan Crate,” said Verger. “They send you a monthly box and it’s like getting a monthly surprise. There are cool looking pens and Pokémon gums.”
Nowadays, subscription services are appearing everywhere. There is Netflix, Hulu even Amazon has joined the community.
What makes subscription boxes special? Subscription boxes often have values that are double triple or sometimes quadruple what subscribers paid for the box. The value makes up for any risk involved.
Each box is a mystery, so subscribers are surprised with what they get. The suspense and the unknown is what keeps the boxes special. Subscribers wait weekly or monthly to unwrap what is inside.
Subscription boxes often come with a theme, each box has a special design to represent the theme for that week or month. Box subscriptions save subscribers time and energy. They no longer have to wander shops and choose between several different brands.
The top five subscription boxes now are Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, LootCrate, Blue Apron and Graze. Birchbox’s monthly delivery personalize beauty, grooming and lifestyle samples. It is $10 a month for women and $20 a month for men. Dollar Shave Club lets subscribers pay between $3 and $9 to receive a shipment of razor blades of their choice every month.
LootCrate, which has been wildly popular, has multiple types of crates for gamers, anime fans, comic book lovers and dog owners. Each crate has a collection of goods for $30 and up each month. Each month features a different theme and there are new crates promoted daily. Blue Apron has a weekly delivery service providing fresh ingredients required to make three home-cooked meals. The price is $60 for two people and $70 for four. Lastly, there is Graze which handpicks healthy-homemade snacks and delivers them weekly for $12 per box.
Even though subscription boxes benefit small business, big retailers are entering the market. Adidas, Amazon, Macy’s, Walmart and Starbucks are getting into the business.