20 Great Subscription Box Business Ideas

Subscription box E-Commerce is growing rapidly, with many companies adopting the business model as a way upscale and generate repeat business. According to McKinsey & Company, 15 per cent of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis. In 2016 alone, the industry generated more than $2.6 billion in sales.

Customers find subscription boxes addictive because they offer an enticing combination of mystery and adventure at an affordable price. With advantages like consistent revenue and higher lifetime value (LTV) from your customers, subscription commerce is a business definitely worth doing.

Here are 20 box subscription ideas with examples!

1. Novels

Are you a book lover? With book-of-the-month clubs dating as far back as the 1920s, it’s definitely one category you should explore. Book subscription boxes are ideally sent out every month in a wide array of genres ranging from fiction, drama, inspiration to hot steamy romance from which you can major in. Examples you may want to look at Book of the month, where you choose from a book from a curated list of five new reads of the month, and Mouse Book Club, started by David Dewane – it sells tiny books and makes over $10,000 each month.

2. Coffee

Most people start their day with a cup of coffee to get them going. A box subscription delivering coffee right to their location is one gesture they will surely love. If you are already in the coffee business, subscriptions are a great way to complement your revenue. Coffee subscriptions like Blue Coffee Box, started by John Butt, make over $26,000/month.

3. Children’s books

Kids are a great niche because they need constant engagement to develop their creativity. Children’s subscription boxes are a great relief to parents who may not have time to handpick books or magazines for their kids every now and then. Amazon prime book box delivers handpicked children’s books every one or 2months for kids ranging from ages 2 to 12.  

4. Cooking

Cooking box subscriptions are a great way to target foodies. Companies like Blue Apron let you choose your meals from a weekly menu, and then they send the ingredients straight to your door with recipes that suit your lifestyle. According to Progressive grocer, Blue Apron reportedly made sales worth $131 million — again credited to consumers buying more meal kits during the pandemic’s various stay-at-home mandates.

5. Vinyl Records

This is a subscription box that targets people who still prefer to get physical copies of music on vinyl, since some people may not have the time to visit a record store. Companies like The Retro Co offer to do it for their subscribers according to their preferences.

6. Kids’ Toys  

Being a parent requires that you juggle multiple responsibilities, and it can, at times, get overwhelming. Toy subscription boxes like Toy Box Monthly offer a helping hand by letting you pick out toys based on your child’s age and shipping them to you directly.

7. Wine and Beer

There are many wine lovers who would gladly subscribe to a box that gives them a chance to try various wines, pairing guides, or beer varieties each month.  

Note: You must be careful though many countries have restrictions on shipping alcohol. Check with the relevant authorities to verify this isn’t the case in your region.

8. Chocolate and Candy

Everyone loves chocolate. Offering monthly deliveries of tasty chocolate treats, candy, and other wrapped sweets is a great subscription venture to exploit. Candy Japan started by Bemmu Sepponen, makes over $6,500/month.

9. Cigars

With Cigars being lightweight and easy to ship, they are one of the subscription boxes easy to ship. The US alone has a demand worth $150m of premium handmade cigars, which is a big market to tap into.  A good example is Southern Cigar Co, started by Michael Arciola III, which has shipped over 38,000 and boasts of 63,000 fans.  

10. Pet food

Pet subscriptions for dog food and associated treats are a great way to save dog owners the monthly trips to the grocery store. A subscription like Bark box,  which delivers a totally customized box of themed toys and treats puppies every month, has served over 2million dogs. Woof!

11. Cleaning Supplies

With everyone taking extra precautionary cleanliness measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, personal and household cleaning supplies are in high demand. You can look at Grove collaborative that offers natural household and personal care products to over 2million households every month.  

12. Jewelry

Are you a curator with good taste in jewellery? Then this subscription box niche is for you. The box is small, and you can specialize in any of the fashion accessories or apparel, ranging from exquisite and to handmade pieces. Look at Emma & Chloé that that sends one new piece of French jewellery every month.

13. Sports

This is a broad category in which you can target athletes or diehard fans. You can make monthly boxes for sports like football, baseball, golf, surfing, or tennis.  Tennis Trunk, curated by tennis players, is an ideal example for this category.  You could also include video games and other gaming products that have increased in demand

14. Grooming

Personal care products are a great subscription model for both men and women. Dollar Shave Club is one of the most successful subscription box companies dealing in men’s grooming, having made over sales of $152 million in 2015, according to Unilever, which purchased it for $1 billion. A combination of products such as shampoo, deodorants, and shavers are a great pick for a grooming box.

15. Baby products

For new parents or expecting mothers, trips to supermarkets or baby stores are an inconvenience. You can capitalize on the situation with a subscription box that offers age-appropriate clothes, diapers, and toys for expecting and new mothers who are usually in dire need of such products. Bluum, a favorite in the baby subscription boxes, offers more than four products ranging from toys to clothing and body care products.  

16. Baking Supplies

Baking is a fun and inclusive way to get the family in the kitchen. Starting a baking subscription with pre-measured ingredients and easy to follow recipes is a great business model.  Whisk takers offer great baking subscription boxes and mouthwatering dessert options.  

17. Gardening

Gardening subscription boxes appeal to those interested in improving their gardens, getting new seeds, and purchasing gardening tools. While it is a broad category, there is plenty of room for specialization. You may choose to focus on flowers, plants, gardening supplies, or seeds. Seed Bank, for instance, focuses entirely on seeds for edible gardens.

18. Seafood  

With the relative scarcity of seafood and the inability of most people to go fishing, a seafood subscription is a favorite to fish lovers. Ann’s example is Cameron’s Seafood, started by Cameron Manesh, which majors in seafood delivery and generates revenue of $300k/month.

19. Beauty and skincare.

Beauty and skincare are promising niches for a subscription service. In fact, Birchbox, one of the very first subscription box services, popularized the model by offering mini versions of makeup and hair care products on a repeat basis.  

Note: While this niche is profitable, its also highly competitive. You’ll need to differentiate yourself from the competition.

20. Puzzles

Puzzles, which according to NPR, sold out during the pandemic, are a great way to bring families together. Subscription box puzzles usually experience influx orders during the holidays as they are a great way for families to spend time together. Companies like Awesome pack deliver family games.

Having a successful subscription business model requires that you diversify your offering to meet your customer’s needs, manage communications, and facilitate payments. This should be paired with Custom packaging to create a good first impression and a seamless order fulfillment partner to handle your routine subscription orders. NextSmartShip will ease your burden by handling all your wholesale purchases, quality control, and custom packages at minimal costs to keep your profit margin high. After picking a category, contact us for a custom solution to fit your new box subscription business. Good luck!

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