Walmart, Sephora, Amazon, CVS, and Lancôme — these conventional retailers likely aren’t who you’d expect to include popular subscription box services. But these monthly box services are no longer just for mom-and-pop eCommerce vendors. Thanks to their overwhelming popularity, big companies are trying their hand at the curation game, and space may never be the same.

Fortunately, using a small ingenuity and a few old-fashioned research, there are still ways to fulfill shopper dreams of a highly curated subscription box service. Here are a couple of methodologies to consider for your shop.

Find the Gap

There are lots of baby and parent subscription services, but there are still gaps indeed in this crowded category. Is your storefront or item more equipped toward fathers? What about older siblings? Online consignment shops might compete with the clothing services at a division of the cost. Fairtrade toys and organic clothing or baby food are moreover huge trends and may convey something that new parents need regularly.

Baby/parent is just one category, but the advice can apply to any vertical. Find your potential competitors and determine what they’re not doing, then see if there’s a market need for the gap. If there is, try filling the void.

Try Upmarket or Downmarket

It may be hard to beat Walmart on price, but you don’t necessarily have to. Ritz-Carlton doesn’t compete with Motel 6, even in spite of the fact that they both offer overnight accommodations.

The $25,000-a-quarter Opulent jewelry box subscription is beyond the reach of most consumers but demonstrates that the sky’s the limit when it comes to certain categories of merchandise.

On the flip side, maybe what the big retailers are offering is more upscale and maybe you'll be able to compete on price. On the off chance that you have got a line of independent beauty products, you will be able to make a boxed collection at a lower cost to consumers than Sephora can currently provide.

Where there’s a group of products consumers want, there tend to be varying pricing sweet spots, depending on the market segment. If one end of the market seems saturated, see toward the other end of the spectrum and see what you'll be able to collect and offer.

Find Your Niche

A few of the most interesting subscription services could seem very niche, but with Shopify, you'll be able to expand your offerings to multiple countries abroad; there are probably many individuals around the world with tastes a bit like yours. With a potential shopper base of that size, you'll be able to potentially turn a passion into a subscription business.

Subscriptions are working for a variety of very niche products. It doesn’t have to be food — men’s health supplements, zany ties, kid’s stickers, or virtually anything you’d want to collect or re-use could have a cult customer following. While these interests may seem hyper-specific, they could be mighty if you can find more like-minded fans. Find your target customer and lifestyle and curate items that would delight that niche group. And with a storefront, you already have a customer base to draw upon and test your box for proof of concept.

Make Unboxing an Experience

One of the hallmarks of a great subscription box service is the beauty of the presentation. Watch some of the unboxing videos on YouTube and you’ll see recipients are just as excited about the experience of opening the meticulously crafted packaging as they are about the items inside.


People love experiences, and adding a special touch to your packaging or presentation can bring an extra bit of surprise and delight to an already wonderful service. A survey from Dotcom Distribution found that 52% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from a merchant that delivers premium packaging. So, weigh everything from the type of box to the packing materials to the placement of products within the box to create a memorable unboxing experience for your brand.

How to Build Your Subscription Box

The difficult portion is over — you’ve chosen what subscription box service to offer, at what cost point, and for what advertise segments. Presently it’s time to dispatch your new subscription box service to the world.

Here are a few subscription apps available in the Shopify app marketplace that may suit your needs:

  • Recurring Orders & Subscriptions by Bold
  • Recurring Billing | Subscriptions by ReCharge
  • Paywhirl Recurring Payments, Billing and Subscriptions

Final Word

Subscription boxes fulfill a consumer desire and they don’t seem to be going away. Having big retailers enter the space only validates how much they’re in demand, but it’s also a sign that competition could be stiff. However, if you do your homework, you may be surprised to find an underserved market just waiting for you.

Now, get studying and let’s see what monthly delights you can deliver.

Need Help?

Hulk’s deep integration with ReCharge & Bold allows brands to meet their subscription goals using our expert’s technical skills. Together, brands have the ability to drive high-value subscription-related actions and provide a much more thoughtful redemption process for shoppers. You can get up and running with ReCharge in minutes with our Shopify expertise, support, and resources working for you to automate your work and find productivity superpowers.