Thursday, September 22, 2016

Subscription Boxes: Disrupting Retail sales across the world!

 According to Wikipedia, a subscription box is a package of retail products sent directly to a customer on a recurring basis. An innovative marketing and distribution strategy, they target a wide range of customers with a variety of interests. The industry is nascent, having taken shape only in 2010s, but they have become very popular very fast, owing to easy access, affordability, and convenience they offer to customers. 

USA, the pioneer of subcoms, has almost 500 different boxes offering diverse range of products. Some of the categories are: food (snacks, bakery items), fashion (cosmetics, jewellery, and accessories), adult products, books/games, children’s activities, stationery etc.

A subscription box works because it is generally a win-win for all stakeholders. The customer gets to sample a company’s products conveniently and within budget. Especially in case of expensive products like luxury cosmetics, getting access to samples can help the customer make a decision about purchasing full size products. Even if they never want to buy those products, a subbox allows them to sample a variety of brands and products that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  An added factor is the mystery – customers generally do not know fully or partly what to expect in their boxes and the process of discovery, makes people try out new things, which is usually a success and appreciated.

 It works for the company or brand because it helps them reach out to potential customers in an effective and targeted manner, especially those customers who live in rural or remote areas, reaching out to whom would be very expensive for a company. It also helps reduce costs as brands don’t need as many outlets and warehouses thanks to the online fulfilment nature of subboxes.  It works for the subbox service providers as they are able to get excellent commercial deals where they get many products from brands for throwaway prices or sometimes even free.

There are caveats though, subbox companies need to constantly innovate to avoid getting repetitive and lose customers. Customers may get products they don’t like. Brand risk bad publicity of their products are not packaged and delivered in perfect condition. However, it seems the benefits outweigh the problems and thus the industry continues to boom.

Here is a rundown on some of the categories and names of subboxes available in India. This list is only indicative, not exhaustive, and includes only those subcoms who have a website and monthly subscriptions. There will be a follow up post with details on each box!

            Food: From Bakery products to tea, from organic gourmet food to snacks, there is a box available for almost everything!

Bake box, Nibble box, Tea box, Gourmet box, Snack experts, Eatelish

2.       Fashion and Lifestyle: These boxes cater to mostly women, though there are some options for men too. Boxes typically include clothes, accessories and other lifestyle products

Sugar box, Lady Raga, Pincbox, Mystery Box

3.       Beauty: These boxes are probably the most popular. They provide customers with a mix of beauty, makeup, perfume, bath and body care products, in both regular and luxury segment.

Nature’s Co Beauty wish box, Scent box, Happiness caged, Fabbag, MSM box, Oh cute box, Globox

4.       Jewellery: Another fast growing segment is the jewellery box which comes with latest trinkets as per your budget, as per the ongoing trends.

 Little bauble box, Embellishment box, My envy box, Zotiqq, Bling bag

5.       Ladies Box: Made just for the ladies, usually these boxes cater to sanitary needs, and throw in samples of soothing teas, yummy treats and bath/body products for an extra dose of pampering for those days.

High tide, Being Juliet, Happiness in a box, La coffer box, Cosset box,

6.       Education: Primarily targeted at kids from ages 3-12, these boxes come with a variety of activities for youngsters to keep them busy and away from gadgets. From worksheets, to craft supplies, books to games, there is a wide variety of stuff available to engross the little ones.

Flintobox, Magic Crate, Xplorabox, Ivykids, Crafty chimp, Small brown box, Little reader’s nook, Cocomoco kids box

7.       Miscellaneous: There are a variety of other subboxes available for various hobbies and pets too!

Paper plane Magazine Subscription, Originone Stationery box, the Book box, Woof box, Wag box


Nima Sherpa said...

I personally like the idea of subscription boxes. It is like a gift to yourself. Unlike the times when you order something online, you don't know what you are going to receive in these boxes and that is why I used the term 'gift'. I just ordered my first subscription box from Globox and I'm eagerly waiting to see what I get.


Sugar & Spice said...

awesome good luck nima, thanks for your comment!