Subscription box

Subscription box


Recurring delivery of a box with 2+ items, designed to delight.

Full definition

What is a subscription box

Subscription box is a recurring delivery of two or more physical items packed in a box, which is designed to provide an engaging experience to the customer who receives it. The content of the box is usually selected by the merchant and announced to the customers upfront, although the box can also be created by the customer itself.

Subscription boxes aim to deliver value that goes beyond the value of individual items in the box, using additional benefits, such as tiered discounts, free gifts, as well as engaging unboxing and product discovery experience.

How subscription boxes work

With subscription boxes, subscribers pay a fee to receive their box on a recurring basis. Upon subscribing, they select the frequency with which they want to receive their box (e.g. monthly or bi-monthly), as well as their payment schedule (pay-as-you-go or prepaid). Once subscribed, they have a few management options available, such as pausing or cancelling the box, but may not be able, e.g. to change the content of the box or delivery frequency.

What types of subscription boxes are there

Subscription boxes differ from industry to industry and from shop to shop.

For example, beauty boxes may contain a set of items that go well together (e.g. a face cream, a serum, a set of face masks, a cleanser and a toner), while fashion boxes may comprise of a few clothing items, picked by a stylist each month. Boxes may also contain exotic foods, collectibles, or novelty products, centered around a single theme that is known to the customers upfront.

The content of the box can be defined by the merchant — the box is then caled a curated box, or selected by the customer — this is a personalized build-a-box. Both curated and personalized boxes may also contain surprise items that aim to delight the customer.

For build-a-box, merchants can use a number of ways to encourage customers to add more products with tiered discounts that increase with every item added or use free gifts or free shipping as incentives.