What Dollar Shave Club Says About The Future Of Subscription Services

by MR Magazine Staff

Subscription boxes — monthly-or-so deliveries of needed or wanted merchandise — have quickly become commonplace in retail. The model is now prevalent in replenishment-friendly categories such as beauty, pet supplies, consumables as well as, increasingly, in apparel. Last month alone, in addition to five-year-old Stitch Fix’s initial public offering filing, The Gap expanded a subscription service for baby merchandise beyond its initial pilot, and Under Armour launched ArmourBox. A host of others with at least one such service includes Amazon, Sephora, Gap Inc.’s Old Navy, Target and Walmart. The concept did seem to take retail by storm a few years ago, especially in consumer goods markets ripe for disruption. Birchbox, founded in 2010, launched at a time when beauty sales were almost unheard of online. And men’s grooming brands Harry’s (co-founded in 2013 by a Warby Parker founder) and Dollar Shave Club (founded in 2011) took advantage of consumers’ frustration with the expense of drugstore razor offerings to go direct to the consumer, complete with a replenishment program. Of course, the idea wasn’t really new. Mail order clubs like Columbia House (founded in 1955, had a 60-year run) and the Book-of-the-Month Club (founded in 1926) got there first. But as an extension of e-commerce, it took flight as a way to log regular orders and sticky customers. Read more at Retail Dive.