It was a typical Tuesday night. I was working on homework and watching a “Fixer Upper” marathon on HGTV when I heard a commercial that broke my train of thought. I glanced up, intrigued, then quickly searched the brand. I found myself immersed in a foreign community, filled with people who love customization, convenience and exclusivity. It was a community of subscription boxes. And I wanted in.
Birchbox sends both male and female subscribers a monthly box, for only $10, containing products tailored based on a beauty or grooming profile completed upon registration. Subscribers may choose from a list of 800 designer brands including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Cartier, Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, La Mer Collections, Oscar de la Renta, Salvatore Ferragamo and The Honest Company.
High end samples from brands like these for only $10 a month seems too good to be true, but because designers see subscription boxes as marketing platforms, oftentimes companies like Birchbox receive samples for free or at a low cost. This allows them to offer consumers these boxes for such reasonable prices.
With another quick search, I found myself in a whole new world. Birchbox is not alone; there are 123 different subscription box services just in the beauty category. And it doesn’t seem like this new industry is slowing down, according to Fast Company, which reported that since 2011, the subscription commerce industry has seen growth at a rate of 200 percent per year, generating $5 billion in revenue in 2014.
The possibilities are endless. Fabletics offers workout gear for women, Try The World sends consumers delicious grub from different countries without the hassle of finding their passports, BarkBox delivers vet-approved dog treats and accessories to “pet parents,” and Harry’s sends subscribers branded razors and in-house shaving products to avoid a trip to the store.
All of this is centered on a concept of convenience for consumers, bringing them surprise, discovery and the rush of finding a gift on their doorsteps every month. These companies understand that millennials and YAYA consumers are busy. They don’t have time to go to the store and browse, yet they still crave quality products customized and tailored to their lifestyles, personalities and preferences.
These subscriptions also hit YAYA consumers on another level other than customization by positioning their brands as authentic and helping to facilitate a special relationship between the consumer and the company through the power of shared experiences. These subscription boxes align with what the YAYA market is looking for: convenience, customization and uniqueness. It also shows brands that understanding the power of relationships with YAYA consumers is valuable because it allows for their brand and consumer bond to form somewhere other than a physical brick-and-mortar store.