Box Buzz: Subscription Commerce

Subscription commerce websites have been sprouting up everywhere recently.  Everything from snacks, undies, and beauty products to tackle, razors, and baby products can conveniently arrive at your door for a flat monthly fee.  I’m equally intrigued by the marketing potential as I am by the psychology of it.  How excited would you be to receive your carefully wrapped box every month, in some cases curiously anticipating what the contents will be!  The subscription model offers customers either a curated collection, random assortment, or a convenient selection of regularly used items.  The possibility for gifting also has potential with sites offering various price options for subscriptions ranging from one month, three months, six months, to a full year.

One of the originals, Birchbox, has gained huge success by working with companies who supply sample size products cost-free in return for the guarantee of customer acquisition.  They’re monthly fee at only $10 per month (or $20 per month for men) is below most of the other websites, allowing them to pick up more volume and gain access to a wider audience.

Here are 15 different subscription websites and what they’re all about.


What they offer:  Treats and toys for dogs, customizable based on the size of your dog.  I love the branding and illustrations on this site!



What they offer:  “High-end beauty and lifestyle samples from top brands” for women and men.  The goal is that you fall in love with some of the samples, resulting in a full-size product purchase.



What they offer:  Luxury-sized samples of beauty products.



What they offer:  Beauty products selected by a panel of beauty industry experts.


Dollar Shave Club

What they offer:  Three different levels of razor blades for men. When their promo video went viral on YouTube, it crashed their site but resulted in over 12,000 new subscriptions within the first couple of days.  They are planning on expanding their product line to include other personal care items for men.  That video, brilliant.

dollar shave club


What they offer:  Trendy shoes selected for you based on results from a style survey.  Kim Kardashian is a co-founder, recently joined by Rachel Zoe as Chief Stylist.



What they offer:  Accessories and apparel curated into a “Boutique” based on your style preferences.  The subscription is an option but not required on their site.  Kimora Lee Simmons is President and Creative Director.



What they offer:  Designer-curated products from jewelry and fashion to home and beauty.  The company hosts an impressive list of celebrity ambassadors


Underwear Society

What they offer:  Quirky and youthful-style socks and underwear for men and socks, leggings, tights, and undies for women.

Underwear Society

Panty by Post

What they offer:  Frilly panties for women, including a bridal collection.  They also offer a classic-style boxer brief for men.

Panty by Post

Citrus Lane

What they offer:  Assorted goodies for parents with young children, including snacks, books, and toys.  You can customize your box based on your child’s age.

Citrus Lane


What they offer:  Gourmet groceries geared toward guys, the “modern man’s pantry.”  I. Love. This website.  The branding, typography, package design, the name.  Perfection.



What they offer:  Artisan foods, randomly assorted each month.


Craft Coffee

What they offer:  A variety of coffee from a select group of roasters, tasting notes, and brew tips.  Customize your subscription based on the type of grind.

Craft Coffee

Mystery Tackle Box

What they offer:  Fishing lures and tackle aimed at both beginner and advanced level fishing enthusiasts, including tips on how to use them.  Surprisingly, this wasn’t the only fishing subscription site I came across!

Mystery Tackle Box

SO once you’ve received your monthly deliveries, you can conveniently apply a face mask then snack in your undies and heels and give your dog a treat, all without having to leave the comfort of your own home! Ha!


Box It Up – The Rise of Subscription Commerce by KISSmetrics

The beauty of Birchbox: it’s not subscription commerce, it’s marketing that women actually pay for by Erin Griffith

Subscription commerce: thinking inside the box by George Henry

My Subscription Addiction: This website reviews a huge range of subscription websites, including daily updates and news. Time for a subscription intervention!


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