Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a growing trend in my Facebook feed; friends posting about their subscription boxes. Each month they would share unique treasures contained within which encouraged my jealousy. The subscription box seemed like the perfect gift for those who are the hardest to shop for on our Christmas lists. It’s more personal than a gift card, and keeps giving them Christmas joy the entire year.
This year I wanted to get a close friend a subscription. There is already a list of the top 8 box subscriptions; but like a good consumer I wanted to find out from other people about their experiences.
Using Scraawl, I conducted a sentiment analysis of Twitter regarding the top 8 box subscription brands. The sentiment analysis showed that overwhelmingly people shared positive experiences regarding the brands. What is really cool is that the report can show you exactly when a dip in positive sentiment occurred, and can alert businesses to potential crises as they emerge. The report showed that overwhelmingly customers were happy with their subscriptions, but I wanted to know specifically what they enjoyed most as well as what their biggest complaints were.
After the sentiment analysis, here is my “naughty or nice” list regarding what customers liked and disliked about subscription boxes.
What customers like:
The wide variety of new products every month.
This is the obvious key selling point for the boxes, after all it’s like discovering a treasure chest each month. When considering a subscription expect the unexpected.
All the giveaways, deals, and online coupons.
One of the most common posts by customers involved sharing how much money they saved, promo codes for others to use, and participating in sponsored contests.
How it impacts their attitude:
Customers reported that getting a new box made their day, week, or even their month! This can be extremely beneficial getting through a Monday, or a January (which is like the Monday of months).
The customer service:
It is clear that the box subscription brands are active on social media, and are responding to complaints, questions, and even shout outs. The response time is relatively quick, which is good because apparently these subscriptions are not without some flaws…
What customers don’t like:
The experience when trying to unsubscribe.
Whether it’s the site’s interface or the hoops they have to jump through; a fair number of people believed it should be easier to cancel their service.
Possible negative environmental impacts.
The environmental impact of all that packaging was a concern, although several brands made it clear that they have taken steps to minimize it. There were also some concerns about eco-friendly products and sustainable ways of producing/obtaining them.
Delivery related issues.
The main problems were boxes not delivered on time, or with missing or damaged products. To be fair, some of these problems are the result of the delivery company, although some customers reported getting a box over a month late. There was also a visible effort by brands to make amends through resending packages, extra products next month, or discounts on subscriptions.
In this day and age, one’s financial situation can change dramatically over the course of a year. Customers lamented having to cancel their subscriptions because they could no longer afford it. While some like Birchbox cost only 10 bucks a month, the premium subscriptions like Purple Carrot can set you back $68 a week.
I love my friends but I’m not sure if I love them enough to spend $68 a week on them. 10 to 20 bucks a month, however, is doable, especially for a gift that keeps on giving. The only problem now is I really just want to buy a subscription…for myself.