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What is the best packaging for subscription boxes?

The examples that we feature below have one thing in common: they send a box of products to a list of customers in set intervals. It’s important to communicate the brand design and brand experience through the box. Most of these companies don’t have in-store experiences for customers to interact. So the box has to be engaging and educational – while still being economical and protective.

An important consideration is that every month (or quarter) these companies are sending different products. For example, fabfitfun sends a box of different beauty and lifestyle products once a quarter. These products change each time, so the box needs to be able to accommodate these changes.

Typically, corrugated mailer boxes, with a front flap, are used for subscription boxes. These are easy to open, easy to create, and easy to customize. There’s also a lot of flexibility with the sizing, which can be die cut by the packaging company fairly easily.

What are best practices for creating subscription boxes?

Keeping in mind that this is the primary physical touch point for the customer, we recommend including a QR code or easy to access contact details. QR codes are easy to set up and print on the box or on materials inside the box.

Many e-commerce subscription boxes make great gifts or recommendations for friends. Many companies are seeing customer acquisition growth by including coupons that can be applied for future purchases or even gifted to friends/family members.

Creating a customized experience in the box also relies on the printed materials that are in the box. For example, most food subscription companies will include brochures with information on using the product (recipes, etc.). As mentioned, coupons and other brand educational materials can also enhance the customer experience.

Today’s most popular subscription boxes

There’s hundreds of subscription box companies on the market today. One thing that makes a box successful is by targeting a specific customer group to address their wants, needs, etc. Narrowing into audiences that have disposable income is another way that e-comm companies are owning market space in this area. For example, kids eco-friendly products – parents are invested in ensuring the safety of their children and there’s children being born every day. This is a perfect opening in the market for a subscription box.

In no particular order, here’s a list of some of our favorite subscription boxes that are on the market today.

  1. Fabfitfun has annual and semi-annual boxes that include products that are trending in fashion, beauty, etc. The idea is to give samples of products for people to have a chance to try new products without the full investment. It also helps people try a variety of products, and gives brands an opportunity to market their products.
  2. BoucheBox includes spices that correspond with virtual interactive tastings each month. They have multiple options so users can get more recipes and features if they desire. As a newer company, they were looking to make it easier and tastier to eat at home during (and post) covid.
  3. KiwiCo has a quiz that parents can take to see what products are right for their kids. After a user takes the quiz the website shows a few “crates” (or subscription box options) that are right for the age range and interests. Most are geared toward educational activities.


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