How would you like to be surprised next month?
SUBSCRIPTION POV #10
By Morten Suhr Hansen
Every month, more than 80,000 Danish women get a little extra luxury in their everyday life, when they receive the monthly subscription delivery from the company Goodiebox. Each month, subscribers receive a box filled with attractive beauty products. That is, different products from month to month and always at a collected value far exceeding the 199 DKK that a Goodiebox costs.
At Goodiebox, you subscribe to a specific type of products. But you also subscribe to something far greater than that. You subscribe to a little extra joy in everyday life. ‘Unboxing happiness’, is what Goodiebox calls the experience that they deliver to their members.
It’s not just in Denmark that Goodiebox has become a success. The Danish startup is now available in nine European countries and each month, it is sent to about a quarter-million members across Europe.
This subscription model, represented by Goodiebox is called the ‘Surprise Box’ model. Over the past 10 years, this model has been a huge phenomenon, especially in the US, where consumers can choose from thousands of different surprise boxes to subscribe to. On Amazon’s website alone, there are more than 400 boxes to choose from with categories like beauty, clothing, food, pets, and all kinds of different hobbies.
More and more surprise box subscriptions are on the way
In spite of the overwhelming success, surprise boxes are yet to conquer Scandinavia, like they have conquered the US. But it looks like this is about to change.
Goodiebox is obviously the shining star within the category, right now. In recent years, we’ve seen a range of other companies launch similar, successful concepts. The leading Danish design company Rosendahl Design Group, which stands behind brands like Holmegaard, Kähler and Lyngby Porcelain, launched the subscription concept Designsquare last year, where subscribers are spoiled with gorgeous design from the different brands held by the company, every two months.
Other great examples are Erik Sørensen Wines, which send new and exciting wines to their subscribers, every month. The same is done by The Champagne Box, which finds small quality producers in Champagne, France and connects them with the members in Denmark.
Even the erotic side of life is covered, by a subscription from L’amourbox, which surprise Danish couples with sexy toys, every other month.
So the good question is, whether we will see more ‘Surprise Box’-subscriptions come forth in the coming years. My clear guess is that we will. Because, this type of surprise boxes fulfil a range of the things that we as Scandinavians love about subscriptions: Convenience, inspiration and pampering.
How to create a successful ‘Surprise Box’-subscription
This is not to say that you just start a subscription and this is the sure way to success. Like with any other of life’s endeavours, you can do well or you can do… Less well. So, here are three points of advice for what you and your company need to do in order to create a successful surprise subscription:
Ensure great curation and a unique selection
Like with any good gift, it’s all about selection. You need to surprise your members with products that they do not know or products that they cannot get elsewhere. If you use your box for getting rid of leftover products, you will die a quick death. Make sure that the value of the contents exceed the price that the member is paying for the box and tell your members, why these products have been hand-picked. As a member of The Champagne Box, you get exclusive access to champagnes that are not normally available in Denmark.
Create a membership feeling and cultivate a good community
Your subscribers want to be treated as members, so be sure to create a fantastic membership feeling around your surprise boxes. Let the members rate and comment on the products and make it easy for members to share with friends and family. Also, make sure to have a unique customer service that always takes the member’s side. For example, Goodiebox calls their customer service employees ‘Happiness Heroes’. Their number one task is to create joy among the members, every time they are in contact with the company.
Make unboxing a unique experience for your members
Every month, you send a gift for your members and like with all other gifts, wrapping is important! With surprise boxes, the term ‘unboxing’ has completely unique importance. The members need to have a truly special experience when unwrapping the box of the month. When you receive a box from Designsquare, you also get nice little postcards and a few extra surprises – at the same time, the box is of such quality that you could actually use this as a design object in your home.
Important to take a stand on sustainability
When all this has been said, companies should have a clear policy on waste and sustainability. The biggest critique against these surprise box subscriptions is that they contribute to increasing waste – that you, as a member, receive way more products than you need. Also, the biggest reason for unsubscribing, is that members end up with products that they can’t find the time to use. So make it easy for members to skip a box or perhaps, subscribe to every other box and don’t fill the boxes with more than members can spend, before receiving the next one.
Still interested in getting started with a surprise box? Or are you still confused with the many possibilities within this area? Then start seeking inspiration on the American services that collect many of these subscriptions. How about a subscription to Battlbox, with a monthly delivery of survival gear. Or what about a subscription for ‘Beef Jerky of the Month Club’, so you never run out of dried meat? On a more serious note, members at KiwiCrate can get pedagogical toys for children between the age of 5-8 years. Toys that can help create future engineers and architects.
How about you? What do you dream of getting surprised with next month?