In a world of endless options, modern consumers have a hard time figuring out what they want. Even seemingly small decisions like which pair of shoes to buy or what to order at Starbucks can lead to analysis paralysis, post-purchase buyer’s remorse, and the fear of missing out.
It’s true: Shopping isn’t easy.
However, many consumers are choosing to sign up for personalized subscription boxes instead of running from store to store. Consumers set aside the burden of choice and let sellers curate products on the basis of their reported preferences. By delivering exactly what customers want and need, retailers can cultivate loyalty among subscribers — the kind that’s hard to come by in the on-demand age.
Rising Above the Rest
More than half of consumers who shop online say they’ve subscribed to at least one subscription box service, according to a 2019 survey from Clutch, which is why retailers in almost every industry are offering their own personalized boxes. There are subscription services cater for teens, men, women, pet lovers, wine connoisseurs, new moms, self-described geeks, and everyone in between.
Not every subscription box company can be the best, so we noted which ones stood out in terms of personalization. Consider selecting from the following nine boxes if you’re looking for products that are perfect for you (or if you want to learn from the best):
- Cora— This subscription service aims to empower women by delivering personalized body care products right to their doors. For every product purchased, they’ll give pads and health education to girls and women in need across the world (from the U.S. to India to Kenya).
- Stitch Fix— While plenty of other companies have tried to copy its model, no one has been able to do quite what Stitch Fix has done in the world of fashion. Subscribers take a personal style quiz when they sign up, and the retailer sends a tailored box filled with clothing that matches their preferences. From there, users can decide what to keep and what to send back (so you’d only pay for what you actually want).
- FabFitFun— Fans of beauty and lifestyle brands enjoy FabFitFun, a quarterly box filled with great deals on popular seasonal items. Members have the option to pick some of their own products, or they can leave the selection completely up to the retailer.
- Dollar Shave Club— If you shave, Dollar Shave Club is for you. After users complete an initial quiz when signing up, the company will send a variety of razors and other grooming products monthly. It’s not the only grooming subscription box in town (Harry’s, Gillette, and other companies offer similar services), but it’s definitely one of the most popular.
- Fabletics— Like other apparel subscription boxes, Fabletics offers some great discounts on popular clothing brands. The activewear retailer gives users 30 days to return or exchange items, as well as cash rewards and early access to new launches.
- Ipsy— This subscription service delivers monthly bags filled with beauty and skincare products. Unlike some of the other subscriptions on this list, Ipsy offers multiple subscription options with varying product sizes and quantities.
- BarkBox— Dogs may not command a lot of purchasing power, but that hasn’t stopped BarkBox from becoming one of the most popular subscription boxes. Each month, the retailer will send dog owners and their furry friends toys, treats, and chews based on a unique theme.
- HelloFresh— Subscription meal kits are as popular as ever, but perhaps none is as famous as HelloFresh. The flexibility of the service likely has a lot to do with its success; users can opt to skip weeks, swap recipes, or cancel whenever. You can preselect meals through an online account or let HelloFresh customize your menu for you. Either way, you’ll probably like what shows up on your doorstep.
- Birchbox— Although launched in 2010, Birchbox is considered a pioneer of the sample-filled beauty box craze. Today, it has millions of members, both men and women, and a plethora of copycats. In spite of the imitators, Birchbox continues to stand apart as a beloved subscription box brand.
Personalized subscription boxes may act as decision makers for us, but they also guide and inspire on an individual level. Many boxes give subscribers the opportunity to learn from experts about what befits their unique needs and tastes. Even if the users ultimately decide to cancel their subscriptions, their experiences with these services often influence their shopping habits long after they’ve opened their last package — and that’s powerful.