Are Subscription Boxes Worth the Money?

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Gift package

By Aurora M.

Over the last five years or so, subscription boxes have taken over our mail boxes. Although they’ve been around for awhile, more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon and creating subscription boxes for their products. And entirely new companies are appearing out of the woodwork with new boxes! It seems that there are subscription boxes for absolutely anything or interest, whether you’re interested in coffee, socks, or dog toys.

Subscription boxes can be fun. It’s like a little surprise gift to yourself. You know you’ve gotten it for yourself, but you’re not entirely sure what’s going to be inside. There are fun boxes just cause, like candy boxes. But there are also incredibly sensible boxes, like meal subscription service, or diapers and household essentials that you might forget otherwise.

Experience over cost

If you stop to think about it, the reason someone decides to sign up for a subscription box service is because of the experience. It’s the same reason that someone wants to go to Disneyland and buy souvenirs and snacks all day. Sure, you can get those Minnie Mouse ears off the internet for cheaper, and outside the park you can get an ice cream sandwich that tastes just as good for a tenth of the price, but you’re not only paying for the product. As this post points out, you’re also paying for the experience; the excitement of getting something in that specific time and place. In this case, right there in your mailbox, a place that’s usually loaded with the dread of bills and annoyance of ads.

Beautifully staged box

Relationship driven

When someone makes the decision to pull out their credit card and sign up for a 6 month subscription box for candles, they’re building a relationship. Initially, they’re building a relationship with the company that selects the candles, packages them in a cute box, and then ships them to their door. But then relationships are branching off of that to the companies whose products are being included in the box.

When you go to Walmart and pick out a candle, you spend a fraction of what you’d spend on a subscription box. But if this is how you’re shopping, you’re not creating a love for Walmart. No one really loves Walmart (admit it,) it’s just the most convenient place to shop for things. You’re probably only picking up a candle because you walked past the candle section and realized that the one you have is running low. You probably get the same scent that’s already in your home. You’re not making the purchase consciously. But when you make the very conscious decision to get a subscription box, you begin trying new things and spending more time and money on smaller businesses. When someone comes to your home and compliments your candles, you’re going to rave about your new candle subscription box that you love.

At the end of the day, the market for direct mail is coming back. Not in the sense that anyone wants mailer junk ads sent to them, but people are beginning to value snail mail and the written word, again. People like coming home to packages on their front porch.

Convenience and cost

When it comes down to it, in most cases purchasing a subscription box is going to cost more than going to your local store and buying the items individually. But there’s a convenience in having the items shipped to you. And it’s possible that buying each item individually online would potentially cost more than buying the subscription box. If you buy each item on its own, you have to pay for shipping costs on each of those items. Let’s say that the box has 6 novelty items inside it. Shipping is either included in the cost, or it’s a standard price, usually around $5. But if you decide to buy 6 novelty items on your own, and then pay standard shipping costs on each of those items, you’re paying at least $30 on shipping costs alone. $30 is usually about as much as a subscription box ends up costing a consumer.

Beautiful boxConvenience doesn’t always have to mean thinning out your wallet! It may not necessarily be a great idea to get subscription boxes for every single one of your interests, although it would be fun to come home to about 30 boxes every month.

If you’re stuck deciding which box is most important to you, consider getting a free trial box from a few different companies and decide which one you like best! This is especially helpful for boxes within the same niche. Most companies do offer a one month subscription as a test. If they don’t, it doesn’t hurt to send them an email and see if they’d be willing to send one! Remember, these boxes are all about building relationships, and a relationship with you is one that they want.

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