Subscription box industry trends to look forward to in 2018

The evolution of e-shopping and e-commerce has been continually making everyone’s shopping experience hassle-free and much simpler, and that’s the reason why more and more companies looking for diverse options to increase their web or app store sales and returning customers. This diversification paved the way to an extremely potential and tried & tested model in the retail and e-commerce sector – the subscription business model. The facts, trends, and numbers are evidently showing that these companies are experiencing enormous growth and this has led to the growth of subscription box industry.

As the industry is growing day by day, the developers and leaders of subscription box are looking for new and unique ways to entice their customers and turn them into loyal ones. Whether it is a beautiful, reusable box packing or a simple idea of curating highly useful things of daily chores, whether it is a DIY craft subscription box or goodies for your lovely pet, the way these businesses are evolving and coming up with unique, engaging and valuable ideas is worth your attention as a business owner. This not only helps your business grow as a brand, but also opens a very lucrative stream of revenue with a lot of loyal and returning customers with stable, recurring income.

Here at My Subscription Business, we are in sync with the latest industry trends being a focused Subscription Business Technology Agency. So as our team of researchers got into action to gather the Subscription Industry Trends to get the balls rolling in 2018, they came up with these ‘not-to-be-missed’ facts; have a look:

  1. The Target Audience plays a very Crucial Role – A subscription-based business needs to thoroughly understand who their target audience is. It is crucial for marketing their products and services, zeroing in the combinations and permutations, finalizing the packaging (which is a very interesting and important part of the entire Subscription business process). There are a few other predominant factors to take into consideration before offering a subscription service:
    • The gender
    • The age
    • The location
    • The culture
    • The category
  2. The Surprise Element gets even bigger – According to Hitwise, “There are about 5.7 million subscription box shoppers in the US”. This not only means that the potential is enormous but also means that the retail tastes have changed drastically. It is not just about routing the customers to what they need, but now, it is more about leading them towards what they don’t know they need. Confused?Well, it is about how you emotionally connect with your customer and understand their tastes and preferences, and offer them something that truly delights them and turns up their mood. It is no more just the Christmas time when we look for surprises. With the kind of schedules we have delved in to, we certainly deserve more, better surprises – and what better than a subscription box? So in times to come, the Subscription Industry sees a huge leap in the Surprising Quotient – with packaging, curation, analysis of the consumers’ choices, more creativity, and more.

    Here’s a graphic by Hitwise to throw some light on the current Subscription trends in the US:
    Subscription trends 2018
    Courtesy Hitwise | Subscription demographics

  3. Curation and Consumables are to stay: Both work and both work greatly. It is just that Curation has more scope of surprising the customer – but there have been brands that have terribly failed with curation – so it about a lot of hard work in research and customer preferences. Picking up various products, combining them as a package, ensuring their usability and delight factor – is certainly not a cake walk. Consumables, on the other hand, are more about the bang-on use. Things that people are bound to use in a certain time interval – like diapers, beard grooming supplies, daily-need supplies, grocery, snacks, etc. So understanding this very important that what you want your subscription business to comprise of? An attractive and delightful Curated Ensemble or a high in demand Essential Supply?
  4. Data, Analysis, Quizzes, Personalization, and Action: According to Forbes, in the month of April 2017, subscription company websites had about 37 million visitors. Since 2014, that number has grown by over 800%.This data is evident in understanding that the scope is getting bigger every passing year. With eCommerce becoming gigantic day by day, the amount of data is massive too. Now understanding this data, making use of it in the right direction and personalizing your customers’ experience is one of the most important keys to success in a subscription business in times to come. Some questions that data, analytics, personalized quizzes, etc. can answer for you for making just the rightmost decisions are:
    • How many people use my product or my type of product(s)?
    • After what time interval do they need my product(s)?
    • What median income do they have and what portion of it are they spending on online purchases?
    • After buying my product(s), or subscribing to my box(es), is there a change in their regular buying pattern?
    • Are they filling the survey forms or answering the survey questions?
    • Have they reviewed my product(s) or subscription box(es)?

    While these are just some of the questions that data answers for you, the analytics help you reach to a point. And the successful companies in the subscription industry are regularly improving on knowing their customers better – whether it is through the quizzes or through the surveys, through their social media activities or their buying journeys.

    subscription box trends 2018

    So to succeed in a curated product based subscription business, ask your customers more – as much as you can – something that the retailers have not been able to since long. If you ask your customers and act upon their personalized choices, they will keep on revealing what they want happily to help you go on and on.

  5. Reviews, User-generated Content and Social Media: Bloggers and social media influencers have been making their way faster than ever. People are believing them following them, and most importantly, acting on their suggestions. Making use of influencer marketing is a great way to reach out to your potential audience. Influencers making delightful unboxing videos of your attractive subscription box, writing a genuine review for you or simply discussing you over the web and social media – all this becomes a catalyst to your brand’s success. Encourage feedback, respond to reviews, act on social media listening and be hyper active on social media – what’s watched is sold!
  6. Customer Service will always be the God: The eMarketer states: “To stay the distance, brands using a subscription model need a very strong point of difference and superior customer service,’ said Sarah Boumphrey, global lead of economies and consumers at Euromonitor International.” This is like the brick and mortar for your business – an awesome customer service and ease of use for customers. Whether it is reaching out for a product replacement, exchange or return, a complaint or a feedback, a good online user experience or quick time to respond – if the customer connects with you easily – your more than half the battle is won. The customer service is and will always remain the basis of success if you are in an e-commerce ocean.
  7. Mobile and Technology – Mobile devices have proved to be one of the major influences on customer interaction and engagement with brands all over the world. According to Forbes, subscription businesses have adapted to mobile far faster and ahead of other retailers and that facilitates the growth of the subscription industry. A robust and engaging user experience is the foundation – how delighted is a visitor first time visiting your beautiful responsive website that is enticing enough? How easily is he/she directed to act on a call to action? How easily do you make sure he answers your questions and subscribes to your box?
    Everything depends on a scalable, customizable and easy-to-handle technology. It is important to select a suitable technology platform that supports your idea, process, shipping, packaging, mood, etc. and is easy to manage for you or your managers without having to be technologically sound. Now whether they are engaging quizzes or smart analytics, reports and dashboards – unless you have the technology in place – nothing is possible. 2018 will see more rise in technology partners and CMS platforms that support subscription processes – choose smartly and then, the sky is the limit.

2017 is coming to an end the year 2018 is soon going to be the New Year to look forward to; and if you are already on or deciding to hop on the subscription industry bandwagon, the above points can be your success mantra!

To remain competitive, you need a highly scalable, seamless, customizable, and easy to manage process driven subscription commerce platform. We, at My Subscription Business, have been helping diverse business niches from beauty to pet supplies, clothing to organic products, snacks to grocery, kids to lifestyle, technology to crafts – set up high-performing and converting subscription stores.

To learn more about how My Subscription Business can support your subscription box business, log on to www.mysubscriptionbusiness.com or drop us a line at [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

Co-founder My Subscription Business. Subscription-business Consultant - Tech Enthusiast, Design Lover, Creative Thinker, Full-stack Developer.