featured image: Teak and Twine

If you’re looking to start a subscription box in the coming year and you want to know what you’re up against, start here. These businesses are beyond trendy — they’re trendsetters. We’ve compiled the most inspirational subscription boxes that are doing all the right things. Whether it’s the precise palette in their packaging, or their imaginative items, you’ll want to be taking note. We’ll tell you just what sets them apart, and what can be optimized, so you can be ahead of the game while you’re prototyping yours.

food52 subscription box

Source: food52.com

food52

Food52 has truly capitalized on one of those “aha” moments. The only thing folks use more than salt and pepper in the kitchen is — you got it — olive oil. Their “Adopt an Olive Tree Gift Box + Subscription” caught our eye because it’s clever and stylish, but that’s not all.

food52 subscription ctaFrom a business standpoint, their layout needs a major shout out. Notice how on the product page, they’ve smartly laid out all of the necessary information. Our favorite touch is the ability to select either a Single Gift Box, or a Year’s Subscription – not always easy to implement on a technical level. And when you select either option, the photo responsively changes.

The product details are also accessible and extensive – origin, sizes, material. Shipping charges are mentioned upfront, and the customer easily has enough information to make an informed decision, all on one page.

The subscription includes:

  • One 3-liter can of fresh, single-harvest extra virgin olive oil produced on a family-run, organic farm;
  • A ceramic olive oil cruet with funnel, made by Puglian artisans, to decant your oil;
  • An adoption certificate for your tree, detailing where your olive oil came from;
  • And a handmade wooden gift box.

They also have an equally practically balsamic subscription. Check it out!


homegrown collective subscription box

Source: homegrowncollective.com

Homegrown Collective

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
– William Morris

Homegrown Collective seems to have a little of each of the above going on. And we dig it.

Each of Homegrown’s “Greenboxes” is professionally and seasonally curated to help you get the most out of “growing” at home and helps you greenify your every day in the most satisfying ways. Homegrown delivers the convenience of growing greener and a little more self sufficient straight to your door every month. What does that look like?

Detox kits, natural skin care kits, DIY soap making — the concept is rock solid. Home remedies and DIY project materials that all lean heavily toward eco-conscious? Yes please!

Beyond that, here’s what struck us: the price is right; 4 options including month-to-month and prepaid options; shipping is upfront, and free; and a clever one-page checkout to boot.

homegrown collective people magazine

Source: homegrowncollective.com

What could use a tweak? When checking out Previous Boxes, you can’t get a photo enlargement without being redirected to their Subscribe page. They’re clearly trying to showcase their recent mention in People magazine and get you to buck up and sign up, but this prevents customers from getting a closer look at the individual products featured in previous subscription boxes, and can be frustrating from a UX standpoint.


bespoke post subscription

Bespoke Post

At first glance, this site seems predictable enough. High-end products in neutral tones? Check. Imported and small-batch so your sleepover buddies know you’re extra classy? Double check. But what they’re doing right can be summarized in a single picture:

bespoke post subscription dopp kit

Source: Bespoke Post

The same amount of attention to detail has gone into the product page as into the product itself – and that’s the key to a successful subscription box. The content is thoughtful, the images are crisp, and the specifics, like dimensions, are all at hand.

Related posts:  Customer Showcase: The Burren Perfumery

An improvement here is a bit of a hack for increasing conversions. We mentioned it first in this article on Quick Wins to Optimize Your Checkout.

bespoke post checkout

Source: Bespoke Post

Bespoke Post serves both the US and Canada, yet only displays pricing in USD. If they added some simple Javascript for identifying geolocation, they could show CAN prices aswell, saving their customer time in calculating costs.

This level of thoughtfulness goes a long way with customers, and builds the necessary trust for subscription retention.


winc subscription box

Source: Winc

Winc

Winc takes curation a step further. Their finely-tuned survey is formulated to discover your tastes, and more importantly, how they can cater to them. When it comes to wine, one size doesn’t fit all, so of course they ask about your preference in other areas – do you like bold flavors? Are you adventurous? This goes well beyond your basic “red or white?”, and the generated results are impressive.

winc subscription questionnaire

Source: Winc

However, Winc’s Wines page is in serious need of some categories, or a faceted navigation system. The user is expected to scroll down row by row where categories range from champagnes to blends to Malbecs, not to mention a diversity of regions. If the customer knows what kind of wine they’re looking to add to their box, they have to go through each one, instead of a simple selector at the top of the page. This kind of functionality would be a vast improvement to the UX.


Teak and Twine

In our previous article on Ways to Increase Profits for your Subscription Box, we mentioned the importance of packaging as a visual storyboard for your brand. Teak and Twine’s branding and packaging is off the hook. Their palettes are thoughtfully crafted, subtle, and customer-specific. This is an extension of the products they choose to include in their gift box, and gives the sense that the brand is refined, and elevated.

There is a little something to be desired, however. Teak and Twine jams all of their necessary information after the product page, on the cart page, in a series of small paragraphs. This includes shipping information, special instruction fields, processing, and more. This information would be way more effective in a tab view on the product page itself, or disperse throughout their checkout. This is likely because their ready-made Shopify template doesn’t support that kind of customizability. This could create some serious confusion with customers.

teak and twine processing


fabfitfun subscription box

Source: FabFitFun

FabFitFun

Yes, now the behemoth — FabFitFun. Unless your Instagram feed is exclusively election memes or awkwardly-sitting dogs, you’ve probably seen some fresh-faced beauties slingin’ this subscription. And with good reason.

What is this site doing right? Besides the great value on their full sized products, they display their social proof directly on the landing page. FabFitFun understands that in order to convince someone to sign up — and keep a subscription customer for that matter — you need to build trust.

Speaking of which…they also boast free shipping centrally on the home page!

fabfitfun free shipping

Source: FabFitFun

…Oh wait, are you from Canada, Alaska, or Hawaii? Just kidding, shipping isn’t free. Cough, sorry guys.

fabfitfun dark ux

Source: FabFitFun

This sort of simple hiccup is considered a dark UX pattern (not to mention a huge turn off to customers), and should be avoided at all costs.

Takeaway

We hope you’ve taken away a few things going right for these established subscription businesses, and noted that even the trendiest and most established subscription boxes need a tweak here and there. Did we miss any of your fave subscription sites? Post them below!