Online shopping is more popular than ever in Canada, with 87 percent of the population having made at least one online purchase in 2019, according to Canada’s Internet Factbook by CIRA. One of the industries that have benefited the most from Canadians’ growing online demand is the subscription box industry. Subscription box services offer consumers a convenient, personalised, and often low-cost way to buy what they want or need, which can include anything from toys to dog treats, cosmetics, and even coffee. With the demand for online goods and services expected to keep growing, the subscription industry is also expected to enjoy a boom in the coming decade driven by these trends.
Traditional retailers will keep venturing into subscription boxes
The subscription boxes boom in Canada hasn’t gone unnoticed by large retailers. Walmart has already started a beauty box subscription service, while Amazon has more than 15 different types of subscription boxes available. Instead of starting their own, some large retailers are also using their market share to purchase existing subscription box businesses, like Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. With so many unique subscription box options popping up, consumers will have access to a wider range of products and discounts as retailers compete to become major players in the industry.
Quality will win over quantity
When it comes to subscription boxes, sometimes less is more. One of the reasons why many subscription box businesses fail is packing their boxes with too many products. Even though subscription boxes are perfect for indecisive people, the choice between too many products can be overwhelming for consumers, making them cancel the whole subscription box. This is where personalisation will come in handy; businesses that will be able to provide a small amount of high-quality personalized options at good prices will attract more consumers since they can quickly customise their boxes according to their tastes.
Artificial intelligence will play a larger role
The subscription box businesses that will survive are the ones that can use the vast amount of data available from various sources to boost their power of personalisation. Custom-picked products will no longer be chosen by humans. Instead, artificial intelligence will be used to learn about customer preferences through different touchpoints, enabling businesses to choose the best products to include in boxes. Artificial intelligence can also be used to make cognitive intelligent photos or videos as well as run interactive chatbots in subscription box websites.
While subscription box businesses still make up a small fraction of the overall Canadian retail industry, they are showing no signs of slowing down. New market entrants and established players, as well as companies developing a subscription aspect of their business, must be thoughtful about the fierce competition and consumer demands in this space that need to be balanced to yield profit.