USA Today – In age of Amazon, services like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club are getting more popular
March 4, 2019
By Charisse Jones
A quarter of consumers are subscribing to services like beauty products seller Birchbox and the Dollar Shave Club, while another 32 percent intend to sign up for such services in the next six months, according to a survey by First Insight, a tech firm that queries consumers for retailers.
That seemed to dovetail with another finding: Instead of carving out time to leisurely browse, 73 percent of men and 69 percent of women only head to an actual store when they need particular items.
The survey highlighted some of the trends that are remaking the retail landscape in the era of Amazon, when consumers can shop from smart phones or laptops, then get purchases ranging from mittens to mattresses dropped at their front door.
“Subscription box services are definitely picking up steam,” said Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight. “Not only do they provide shoppers with convenience, but they also serve up items in a smart way … As consumers are less interested in going in-store to browse, these boxes are bringing the delight of finding something they love without the hassle of getting in their car.”
Subscription services allow shoppers to automatically and regularly receive samples or full-size products for a fee.
Getting a box of items regularly dropped on their door step appealed slightly more to men, with 28 percent currently having a subscription as compared to 22 percent of women. Among those planning to start subscribing, 35 percent of men said that was their intention, as compared to 29 percent of women.
Millennials who’ve grown up being able to access information and shop with a swipe or a click were particularly attracted to retail subscriptions, with 31 percent currently paying for them, and another 38 percent saying they will in the next six months. That’s compared to 8 percent of Baby Boomers who subscribe and 22 percent who say they plan to.
Though the bulk of sales still occur in an actual store, the rapid acceleration of online shopping has meant retailers have had to increasingly innovate. Many traditional chains, like Nordstrom, Walmart, and Target leverage their physical locations to enable those who make purchases online to pick those items up at a store.
Retailers are also enhancing the in-person shopping experience. Home Depot offers customers an app-based map to guide them to the item they’re looking for, while visitors to Nike’s New York City flagship store can scan the QR code on a mannequin to find sizes and colors, and with another tap of the app, have the coat or pair of pants brought to them in a dressing room or on the sales floor.