Subscription Shopping: The Good and The Bad

Subscription Shopping: The Good and The Bad

Subscription shopping has actually been around for a decade or so now. However, it is spreading its tentacles across an ever wider product range.

Certain products may well lend themselves to the concept of subscription shopping. We’re thinking here of things like pet food and cosmetics, things which, once you’ve decided to stick with a product can be converted to a monthly subscription. This neatly takes the decision making out of your hands.

But is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or, is it a complete ruination of the shopping experience?

Subscription Shopping Is Expanding Fast

You may be unsurprised to learn that subscription shopping was born in the USA, the home of fast food, fast shopping, fast everything. In the space of 12 months to 2019 it increased by some 40%, according to Forbes and around 25% of American citizens were receiving subscription boxes with approximately 32% more were planning to try it. 

Surprises For Everyone

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love the rush of dopamine on receiving a box in the post. It isn’t just millennials who are driving the new shopping habit either. Young or old, male or female, anyone who is au fait with internet shopping and smartphone technology can experience the thrill of unwrapping the box of goodies, even when you already know what to expect.

So What’s Good About Subscription Shopping?

Why are more and more of us signing up for subscription boxes? And is it worth the effort? Let’s look at the good bits.

As an example, let’s say you want to try a different style of clothing but are unsure of what might suit you. Or perhaps you want to broaden your horizons when it comes to wine. But, you need the guidance of an experienced sommelier. Maybe you want to change your make-up style after being stuck in a rut? Again, perhaps you could do with some expert advice.

A short browse on Google brings up endless suggestions on retailers. These range from established names to more exclusive services where a clever algorithm, or even a personal stylist, will analyse your preferences and then choose a collection of whatever just for you. Pop in your personal details and credit card information, click on the ‘Buy Now’ button and sit back and wait for the knock on the door.

Any Pitfalls?

Despite the convenience and simplicity of ordering online and waiting for delivery, some people say they miss actually going into shops and physically feeling the quality of a garment or examining a product in the flesh. And they miss the camaraderie of shopping with friends. Dawdling around the shops and enjoying a leisurely coffee afterwards is something that simply can’t be replicated through a lonely website.

But for every person who is delighted by the things they commit a monthly amount of cash to buying there are many who have been disappointed. The quality hasn’t been as good as advertised. Or, items arrive faulty or broken. There is the potential for fraud or hidden price increases. These suddenly make your purchases more expensive than in a shop.

As always, read the small print carefully before committing to any regular subscription.

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