June 16, 2011

E-commerce’s monthly makeover

Posted by: in North America

Old-fashioned monthly subscription services—think Meat of the Month’s modern makeover—are on the upswing, as The New York Times recently noted. Subscribers to New York-based startup Birchbox, for example, fill out online beauty profiles, then pay $10 a month to receive a “birch box” filled with suitable sample-size makeup and skin care products; customers can buy full-size versions on the company’s website. There are variations on the theme: JewelMint gets a sense of a member’s style and emails her a selection of jewelry she might like each month; the customer then chooses one piece as her “purchase” (for $29.95) or elects to skip the month.

These monthly services tap into three of our 10 Trends for 2011. Non-Commitment Culture is part of it, since the subscriptions are fairly low-risk financially—with Birchbox, for instance, customers get to enjoy various treats without paying for the full size—and can be canceled anytime. Monthly services satisfy the urge to splurge with what doesn’t feel like (but may add up to) a significant investment. Then there’s Hyper-Personalization, one way to generate consumer excitement in the post-recession world. ShoeDazzle, for example, says its celebrity stylists match each customer’s fashion profile with suggested footwear. And the fact that most offers are good for just a month or so ties in to the new Urgency Economy, since customers feel compelled to act while they can.

Finally, the monthly model helps time-crunched shoppers stay on top of the trends by simply outsourcing curation to the experts. Much like meal-delivery services are a convenient way to stay healthy, customers may find monthly subscription services to be a stress-free way to stay hip. While the monthly delivery revival has thus far been confined to women’s beauty and fashion, look for retailers to experiment with other categories, from menswear and household goods to food and services.

Image credit: Birchbox

1 Response to "E-commerce’s monthly makeover"

1 | Will Palley

August 17th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Avatar

GothamBox sends monthly packages of location-inspired foods, allowing those living somewhere else to enjoy the cuisine of a particular place. http://www.springwise.com/food_beverage/service-offers-taste-city-subscription/

Comment Form

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER:

10 Years of 10 Trends

The Future 100

Things to Watch

  • Bloom
    June 29, 2015 | 11:32 am

    Bloom

    A new service called Bloom aims to bridge the generation gap using stripped-down technology. The service includes a minimal tablet display interface that seniors can place in a chosen room to receive updates from family, as well as a smart wristband that activates the display automatically when users approach it. Other family members who’ve downloaded Bloom can share photos and videos to their loved one’s stream using their mobile devices.

    Continue reading “Bloom” »

  • SecondHands
    June 25, 2015 | 12:02 pm

    SecondHands Small

    British online supermarket Ocado has announced its SecondHands program: a five-year project aiming to create an autonomous robotic warehouse employee. An example of our “Cognitive Technology” trend in this year’s Future 100 report, the project could revolutionize the way factories handle repairs, logistics and more, but comes with its share of challenges. Continue reading “SecondHands” »

  • Offices for the young at heart
    June 23, 2015 | 5:59 pm

    LegoModern offices, especially in the tech sector, have become known as adult playgrounds that foster creativity and collaboration. The image of millennials playing ping pong at work is its own meme in the age of The Social Network. And there’s a prevailing idea that the younger the workforce, the more cutting edge and productive the company.

    Continue reading “Offices for the young at heart” »

  • Transparency ratings
    June 22, 2015 | 4:23 pm

    Data

    The fight for digital privacy continues to gain momentum two years after Edward Snowden’s dramatic disclosures. But while most technology companies have made progress in protecting consumer data, some are lagging behind, according to the latest report from the Electronic Frontier FoundationContinue reading “Transparency ratings” »

  • Taste rewind
    June 19, 2015 | 5:29 pm

    Britney_Small

    Spotify’s new Taste Rewind feature is a music lover’s time machine. It’s a tool designed to help listeners discover “what you’d be jammin’ out to if you were born during a different decade.”

    Taste Rewind asks you to choose three of your favorite contemporary artists, then creates a personalized playlist representing each decade from the ‘60s on. Targeting a younger user base, the app plays on Millennials’ tendency to be nostalgic even about eras they never experienced. Continue reading “Taste rewind” »

  • Menswear’s delicate side
    June 17, 2015 | 5:13 pm

    DelicateMenswear

    Recent years have seen a surge in gender-neutral fashion, from luxury heavyweights such as Prada to cult favorite Hood By Air. But this week at London Collections Men, designers are offering a new twist: lace, ruffles and velvet, constructed in distinctly masculine shapes. Continue reading “Menswear’s delicate side” »

  • Co-working gets domestic
    June 16, 2015 | 5:28 pm

    WeWork

    Popular co-working space WeWork will soon launch WeLive—a project that combines WeWork’s famously fun work spaces with dorm-style micro apartments. A press release for WeLive describes the buildings as “neighborhoods,” featuring 200+ apartments with shared commercial-grade kitchens and community spaces, along with several floors of office space. Continue reading “Co-working gets domestic” »

  • Native American dining
    June 11, 2015 | 1:56 pm

    native-american-food-truck-small

    Although it’s easy to sample the cuisines of Ethiopia or Vietnam in most major US cities, Native American restaurants are practically nonexistent. However, with the rise of locavore movements and interest in pre-industrial foods from the likes of the paleo crowd, the indigenous cuisines of the United States could be ready to claim their rightful place in today’s food culture. Continue reading “Native American dining” »

  • Time-travel media
    June 8, 2015 | 5:13 pm

    Future Chronicles

    The Future Chronicles, currently raising money on Kickstarter, bills itself as the “first magazine ever that travels through time.” Created by German agency Hyperraum, the magazine aims to explore both the past and the future through creative narration and design.

    Continue reading “Time-travel media” »

  • Invisible wearables
    June 2, 2015 | 4:12 pm

    Project Jacquard

    A new initiative announced at Google’s annual developers conference is making waves in the wearable tech world. Project Jacquard, launched in collaboration with Levi’s, makes touch interfaces more wearable than ever by weaving them directly into traditional textiles. This high-tech fabric is made of conductive thread that can respond to touch signals like swipes and taps, and sync up with a smartphone to execute basic functions. Digiday calls the innovation “Google Glass for your ass.”

    Continue reading “Invisible wearables” »

  • RSSArchive for Things to Watch »