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Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Savings Advice, Seasonal & Events | 0 comments

5 Protips To Help You Get the Most Out of a Subscription Box

Have subscription boxes piqued your interest? You aren’t alone.

Since the makeup company Birchbox founded the idea of discovery commerce in 2010, thousands of companies have entered the marketplace, promising to provide you with a curated collection of products that match your personal preferences.

But is a subscription box worth the cost? This article will share some tips on how to decide on a brand so that you can get the most out of your subscription box service.

How Do Subscription Boxes Work?

When you sign up for a subscription box brand, the company will send you a regular shipment of products that fit under a predetermined theme. Most brands send out their boxes on a monthly or quarterly basis, and the pricing tends to fall between $10 for beauty product sample brands to over $100 for high-end food products and luxury goods.

Today, there are two primary types of subscription boxes available. The most popular is “discovery commerce,” which is defined as a diverse collection of products that are delivered to your door at a predetermined frequency. The other type of subscription box lets you receive everyday products on a regular basis, often at a discount. Most meal kit companies fall under this category, as do brands like the Dollar Shave Club.

Thanks to the recent industry explosion, it is now possible to receive regular orders of beauty and grooming products, clothing and accessories, pet food and toys, pre-made meals and meal kits, international and themed snacks, wine and spirits, coffee, and entertainment.

What’s the Appeal of Subscription Boxes?

There’s a lot to like about subscription boxes, and people sign up for them for as many reasons as there are brands available. Part of the appeal is the surprise factor. Not knowing precisely what you will receive can make opening each delivery feel like a present.

Some people also love subscription boxes for their convenience, fewer trips to the store, while others appreciate the ways they expose them to products they might not have purchased otherwise.

Subscription companies vary in the amount of input they let customers have over the products they receive, and many let new customers fill out questionnaires about their preferences beforehand.

Should you consider signing up for a subscription box? Below are five factors you should consider before deciding.

Five Factors to Consider When Choosing a Subscription Box

Not all subscription box companies are created equal. It’s important to know what you’re committing to before you exchange any cash. Consider these five questions for every company, and you’ll make a smart decision for your situation.

1. How Frequent are Deliveries?

Subscription companies vary on the frequency of delivery, with some (most meal kit companies) ship weekly, while others (typically luxury brand products) ship quarterly.

Many brands offer a monthly subscription as the default, but it’s often possible to adjust the frequency to fit your needs. This is an important consideration, as the frequency of delivery will affect your annual costs.

2. What’s the Estimated Value Per Dollar Spent?

There’s a lot of variation on the pricing for different subscription companies, but a potentially more important consideration is the value per dollar that you spend.

As an example, let’s look at the pricing for each order from three different beauty box subscription services: Ipsy ($10), Boxycharm ($21), and Glossybox ($21). These three companies promise a different minimum value of products within each package, with Ipsy averaging $53 ($5.30/dollar spent), Boxycharm coming in around $100 ($4.76/dollar spent), and Glossybox at $80 ($3.81/ dollar spent).

This means, while you’ll get the most valuable products from a Boxycharm subscription, you’ll actually get the highest value per dollar spent by choosing Ipsy instead.

3. Are Your Preferences Considered?

Part of the appeal of a subscription box service is receiving merchandise that you wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. However, some people prefer to have more say over what they receive to ensure they don’t end up with unwanted products cluttering their home.

Some brands address this concern by providing personalization options. FabFitFun, for instance, lets customers select one or more products for each quarterly delivery, and Firstleaf wine subscription service allows subscribers to preview their wine orders ahead of time and veto any bottles they aren’t interested in.

Other companies, like Breo Box, offer the same selection of products to every subscriber each month without the option to make choices.

It is critical to determine the amount of personalization before signing up for a subscription service, especially if you tend to be picky about the food or products you like.

4. Will Delivery be Difficult?

The convenience of delivery is another factor to consider when signing up for a subscription service. Many companies won’t deliver to PO Boxes, and it’s illegal for alcohol to be delivered in the United States without an adult signature. If your boss won’t appreciate you signing for a wine delivery during the work day, you might want to reconsider your subscription.

5. What’s the Cancellation Policy?

It is important to take the cancellation policy of the subscription box service into account before committing. Most companies offer different subscription options (ranging from month-to-month to quarterly or annually), and, depending on the plan you commit to, you might be billed for multiple deliveries upfront.

This might prove to be a problem if you decide to cancel your subscription, as most companies won’t provide a refund for the months that you pre-paid for.

For this reason, it’s important to read the fine print before you sign on so that you know what your rights are if you decide to opt out of the service.

Do Your Research to Save Money on a Subscription Box

If you’re interested in trying your luck with a subscription service, there’s a good chance that you can find one that meets your specifications, if you do your research. Ask yourself these five questions of every service you consider to help you make the best decision the first time.

Lydia Noyes is a health, wellness, and lifestyle reporter for who focuses on ways to live a healthier, more sustainable life. She received a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Calvin College and her writing work has been featured in Mother Earth News Magazine, Natural Living Ideas, and dozens of other websites, including her personal site

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