Amazon Prime is perhaps the most well known subscription service for eCommerce out there today. Whilst not just a standalone subscription delivery service, the free same day or next day shipping is a huge incentive as part of the Prime offering.
However the subscription delivery service is not just something reserved for the huge businesses to be involved in. There are now many smaller independent businesses who have realised the value to customers in setting up monthly or weekly subscription boxes that get sent out automatically.
This trend for subscription delivery services is not slowing down. The popularity is continuing to grow, thanks to the unique mix of convenience and the feeling of receiving a gift or surprise on a recurring basis according to Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters study.
Currently almost half (44 per cent) of UK eCommerce shoppers now subscribe to a subscription delivery service which is a marked increase from 34 per cent in 2019.
According to the Delivery Matters study on an average month, online shoppers receive three deliveries from a retailer they have a delivery subscription with. Almost one in ten (8%) have a regular subscription box service. Food (31%), shaving products (24%) and clothing (22%) are the most popular subscriptions.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in our subscriber numbers this year since the start of lockdown back in March. Our business has really connected with customers as a way to look after friends and family who are self-isolating.”
“Our personalised book subscriptions are a tangible way to reach out and show someone that you care, whilst providing them with a little bit of escapism in what has been a difficult time for many. The ability to send books through the post with contactless delivery from Royal Mail is an added benefit of our model.” – Emily Atkinson, Founder, The Beautiful Book Company
Four in five shoppers consider it’s important for their subscription box to fit through a letterbox. This has given rise to a host of packaging innovations in the sector including letterboxable flower bouquets from Bloom & Wild and brownie boxes from Lola’s Cupcakes.
47 per cent subscribe to these services for price, 41 per cent for convenience, 39 per cent for a treat and 18 per cent as gifts.
The Convenience Of Consuming
The idea of receiving a surprise gift through the letterbox once a month or more is proving too much for many Brits to resist.
“We have seen an increase in subscriptions to our Letters from Fairyland, particularly over lockdown. Given everything that’s happened this year, our customers – mostly parents and grandparents – have been looking for ways to bring a little bit of magic back into children’s lives. A letter from a favourite fairy-tale character seems to fit the bill!” – Judith Katz, Founder, The Magic Ink Pot
Many UK shoppers also now organise the week’s meals by subscribing to companies that provide ingredients and instructions for a series of dishes and treats, totally outsourcing the need for meal planning and prep. Clever packaging means that perishable foodstuffs are kept fresh in special ice packs.
“I have noticed a significant increase in our seasonal candle subscription boxes, particularly due to the current situation. Customers are looking for a thoughtful gift for their loved ones, friends and family. I have also seen an increase in orders from corporate companies recently as they look to say ‘Thank you’ to their colleagues for their work over the last year.” – Becky Avery, Owner and Founder, Hazel & Blue
Others get monthly gift boxes of make up and skin care in order to keep looking their best. Still more sign up to regular deliveries of everyday practicalities such as shaving items.
“With online shopping habits changing, it’s important for retailers to ensure repeat business and customer loyalty. Offering a subscription service is a really effective way of doing this. It’s all about seizing opportunities that the new normal has presented, and delivering what consumers want. British shoppers continue to put their trust in the knowledge, expertise and reassurance of the Royal Mail brand.” – Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail
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