The CX of the subscription box user

The CX of the subscription box user

With 1 in 3 consumers now signed up¹ to at least 1 subscription box service, this market has grown exponentially in recent years, with companies capitalising upon our restricted movement during the pandemic to make their mark within this industry. Subscription boxes are now available for all kinds of different products – weekday meals, fine dining, clothes, coffee, books, makeup, and art & craft supplies to name just a few.

But how does the subscription box customer experience stack up? We asked our Mystery Shopping panel to tell us about their experiences.

The Top 3 subscription box types are:

  1. Fresh food
  2. Beauty
  3. Alcohol

It is perhaps no surprise that 73% of subscribers cite convenience as the principal reason for using a subscription box service. We want an effortless experience, and one which gives us the opportunity to try new things²

With convenience as the key driver, it’s important to ensure that every stage of the process follows this philosophy. Having efficient and functional ways for customers to change their delivery address or pause or cancel their subscription keeps things simple, as do automated reminders to let customers know when payment will be taken. Some subscription services allow customers to sign up quickly online but make the cancellation process into a protracted phone call, and while this may seem like a good opportunity to retain customers by offering them deals and freebies, for many it can feel underhanded and stop them from signing up at all.

Keeping in touch with customers between boxes with information and updates helps them feel like part of a community and builds excitement about their next delivery. Customers also appreciate the opportunity to customise what’s in their box based on their personal tastes, as well as being introduced to new products and/or experiences.

36% of respondents have previously had a subscription service but no longer do so. Why?

50% of customers have cancelled their subscription box due to high cost and/or poor value for money. This area of dissatisfaction is most likely driven by encouraging new customers with incentivised ‘sign up’ deals who are not willing (or are unable) to pay full price for the service. Additional reasons for stopping the service include:

  • Missing items (10%)
  • Poor quality (10%)
  • Late delivery (7.5%)

1 in 2 customers have had a problem with their subscription box service

A few months ago, I moved house, a stressful experience at the best of times, and duly changed my address for my subscription box, leaving plenty of time before it was supposed to be delivered. However, when I received the email stating that my next box was due to be sent out, it still listed my previous address. As a result, I found myself having to call the company and explain what had happened, adding yet another job to my ever-growing list. While on this occasion my problem was easily resolved, it still felt like something that never should have happened in the first place and, when combined with a few other minor frustrations I’d experienced with the service, contributed to my decision to end my subscription.

Things cannot, and do not, always go to plan. However, consumers are generally accepting of mistakes being made, as long as the mistake is put right.

19% of subscribers who experienced a problem were unhappy with the resolution and as a result have cancelled their subscription box service. Gaining a clearer understanding of the CX at the point of problem resolution will allow organisations to identify pinch points, establish a core service framework and embed a better customer experience.

Done well, subscription services offer customers the ultimate convenience along with the surprise and delight of a package to open; for companies they create an opportunity to introduce new products and create a predictable flow of income. However, without showing the appropriate care and attention when it comes to customer service it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, and for customers to either step away from the subscription service market completely or take their custom elsewhere.

For subscription services, every box that gets sent out is an opportunity to create joy and build a positive relationship with customers. However, the market is becoming saturated – with so many options available, companies need to do more to elevate their customer experience. Making sure the CX is easy, reliable, responsive, and creating moments of delight with customers will deliver a better customer experience, which in turn will ultimately drive customer loyalty and increase market share.

To find out more about our expertise in customer experience measurement programmes that deliver a better customer experience, please get in touch with Danielle Sones (Experience Director). / 0161 431 1221.

¹ Survey completed by ABa Q2 2022 (n=192) ² 66% of subscribers cite ‘trying new things’ as a reason for having a subscription box service