From razors and recipe kits to stationery and personal care, the subscription box phenomenon continues to thrive. Its success is due to its focus on the customer experience and the use of technologies that allow it to capitalize on the evolution of consumer behavior.
In the UK, Royal Mail estimates that the subscription box industry will be worth Â£ 1 billion by 2022 and that 27% of UK consumers currently receive at least one box. Cool and style-conscious in many cases, these services are most popular with those under 35. The Royal Mail study shows that more than half of 25-35 year olds subscribe to at least one box service. In the United States, management consulting giant McKinsey estimates that the internet subscription services market, which includes boxes, grew by more than 100% per year over a five-year period through 2018.
Growth shows no sign of stopping, with Royal Mail research showing 40% of UK consumers will join more programs in the future.
What is behind this extension? In part, this has to do with changes in the habits of consumers no longer looking for the unexpected on the main street. Yet when they go online, they are faced with a bewildering choice. Consumers realize that they can spend far too much time choosing what to buy, and appreciate a selection âcuratedâ by an expert. In the UK, millions of consumers have also become accustomed to subscription services through the growth of online grocery shopping.
Consumers want convenience, but on the other hand, they also want pleasant surprises. Whether in the US or UK, subscription box services broadly fall into two categories to meet these overlapping sets of demands. Delivery services for razors and baby products are fundamentally about replenishment, while a company like Feefo customer Lifebox, which supplies a monthly box of high-quality natural foods not available elsewhere, is all about discovery. and fun.
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE REDUCES DISRUPTION
High churn rates, however, remain a challenge across the subscription box industry. McKinsey found that four in ten consumers had canceled their subscriptions. More than a third of consumers who sign up for a subscription service terminate in less than three months and more than half terminate within six months. As McKinsey repeatedly points out, consumers will only continue to subscribe if they have a great end-to-end customer experience.
Lifebox is one of the companies at the forefront of the subscription box revolution. It was founded five years ago by Jenny Sleath out of a belief in healthy eating and exercise. General Manager Howard Rawlings says understanding customers is key to providing them with a memorable experience. Discovery is central to the customer experience, with meticulous presentation and reliable delivery.
That’s not to say value lags far behind in customer considerations. The cost of a box is less than the combined MSRP of the same items purchased individually, assuming consumers know where to find them. Customers will often post reviews emphasizing how great value the boxes are.
Rawlings take this: âThe customer experience begins when consumers visit our website and continues until they receive the second box. The company knows that its customers regard the receipt of a box as a kind of gift, which is why great attention is paid to the presentation. Layering makes the unwrapping and unwrapping ritual enjoyable and if a box is a gift it will have a ribbon. Attention to detail extends to the way the tissue paper is folded inside and the provision of a booklet that gives information on the contents and offers recipes.
These finishing touches add to the ‘giving of yourself’ experience and the company goes the extra mile to ensure that receiving a Lifebox is an exciting and special time.
CUSTOMER INSIGHT IS AS ESSENTIAL AS CURATION
Knowing what matters to customers and knowing if the company is delivering on their promise every step of the way makes feedback crucial for Lifebox. Rawlings says, âIn its most basic form, what we do is not difficult; we put the products in a box and send them to consumers. What makes us different is the knowledge we have of our consumers’ preferences and how we use that information to keep our boxes fresh and exciting.
Customers are encouraged to post reviews and they are posted for all to see. Rawlings considers them invaluable, saying it makes the customer understand that they are important and that their voice will be listened to. Feedback is essential both in shaping Lifebox’s offerings and in resolving any individual issues or misunderstandings. Second, review analysis highlights broader market trends and responses to products or service aspects. This is where customer feedback helps meet the substantial challenge of lowering the churn rate, any ideas that can help with that are crucial to the growth of the business.
Like many successful subscription box businesses, a big part of Lifebox’s success lies in anticipating trends. Boxes with vegan foods are its biggest seller, but the company is also catering to fitness enthusiasts with high-protein products. Being prepared to offer customers slightly offbeat products is vital.
The crucial decisions on what to put in the boxes are made by a curator who is a nutritionist working closely with international brands so that when a new product is launched, Lifebox already knows it. It is, as Rawlings says, a very important part of the business. The company never repeats the articles in their boxes, so the experience is different every month with entirely new content. This is the specific niche of the company where it sees itself as having particular expertise and significant growth potential.
âFeedback allows us to keep a customer rather than losing them because of a specific misunderstanding, but it’s also important for the brands in our boxes,â says Rawlings. âWe can give them information about their products, especially when they are new. This is particularly relevant for Lifebox, because, as Rawlings puts it, “We sometimes like to challenge our customers with new or different products, so we’re going to get feedback saying ‘I didn’t like everything that was happening. found in the box, but I give you five stars “. If you want to discover new products, you should expect to discover something every now and then that is not to your taste.
Rawlings points out that maintaining the competitiveness and reducing the churn rate in the subscription box industry can be difficult. The contents of the boxes must constantly change without any compromise on quality, and any new successful idea can be adopted by competitors.
This is why it is so important to get customer feedback and extract information from it. âIf you don’t know your customers, you’re lost,â he says. âThere is a fair amount of anecdotal evidence out there, which is helpful, but you can’t beat your Feefo comments over the past six months and see which direction they are going. ”
For the future, the future of subscription boxes lies in greater personalization. The McKinsey study showed that 28% of subscribers in the United States see personalization as the number one reason to continue to subscribe. This is a difficult problem for any subscription service to solve, but it is an issue where customer feedback will have a very obvious and very effective role to play. Getting real information from the reviews of thousands of real customers will be essential to the development of the subscription box industry.