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The Subscription Takeover

As the gift-giving season quickly approaches, adults often begin to reminisce about their youth-filled days of uncontrollable anticipation, no sleep and the complete and utter joy of tearing through the wrapping paper on Christmas morning and uncovering the gifts inside. For me, it has always been about the element of surprise. Luckily, businesses have begun to catch on to this way of thinking and have made it so every month can now be like Christmas morning.

Subscription buying has seen tremendous growth and transformation over the past few years. What was once just for purchasing monthly magazines and newspapers, now covers everything from beauty and fashion to fitness, art and cooking. Fellow blogger Lisa, from Fantabulously Frugal, has a great list of subscription boxes that are currently available to consumers.

Birch Box Subscription

How does it Work?

For a set monthly fee, normally ranging from about 10 to 80 dollars, selected items arrive at your doorstep in brightly colored boxes each month. For most of the subscription services, before you receive your first box, you complete a survey or quiz to better pin point your specific wants and needs. Companies can then tailor your box and help improve overall retention and maintain the satisfaction of its subscribers.

Depending on the service, you receive an array of products and goods that usually, in total, cost more than what you pay per month, therefore satisfying the “deal shopper” in you. Also, some boxes are merely full of sample products that allow for trial and experimentation without having to spend the money and commit to full size products.

Lastly, one of the biggest perks to this way of shopping, is that you are completely unaware of your box’s monthly contents until it arrives at your doorstep. The surprise factor has been so well received that millions of people now create “unboxing” videos that can be found on YouTube for people to watch and join in on the fun.

Are there Risks?

Subscription boxes have several benefits including saving time and money, however, if you are not careful, this way of shopping can also leave a giant whole in your wallet without you realizing it. The monthly fees can quickly add up. Many consumers become “ subscription happy”, and simply sign up for a host of services that they do not necessarily need. Since it is only a single fee each month and often charged to one’s credit card, many don’t really pay attention to it and how much they are really spending each month.

In addition, you do pay the risk of not liking what is in your box. It is important to do your research and find the services that best suit your needs and offer the most flexibility when it comes to returns.

The Future?

It will be interesting to see how these subscription box services continue to grow and become more or less popular over time. It will also be interesting to see how companies and marketers take advantage of this growing trend and how much time and money will now be spent on getting their products in these boxes each month.

Here are just a few questions I have when it comes to this new way of shopping:

-Will the element of surprise slowly fade and become less appealing?

-Will consumer confusion and frustration ensue due to the rapid growth of different services offering similar products?

– Will consumers no longer purchase full size at full price products, therefore, becoming brand disloyal, sample size, discount users?

What do YOU think?

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