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Unpacking The Subscription Economy (Series) – 2. The Surprise Box Subscription Model


This series of articles follows on from an article I published recently, titled “Unpacking The Subscription Economy”, where I mentioned that subscription businesses are more valuable and appealing to investors than traditional businesses, because they are more predictable to operate and they extend the lifetime value of a customer. This article looks at The Surprise Box Subscription Model.


The Surprise Box Subscription Model

If you have a product to sell, you can distribute it through retail stores or sell it online; but if you have a product that people feel passionate about, another approach to consider is The Surprise Box Subscription Model, which involves shipping a curated package of goodies to your subscribers each month.

For example, if you want to spice up your love life, you can subscribe to and get a monthly box of new love-making paraphernalia. Or if you’re a chocolate connoisseur, Standard Cocoa is a subscription service that offers a curated box of chocolates from craft chocolate makers around the world, complete with the history of the featured chocolate maker.

For dog lovers, $20 a month will buy you a subscription to BarkBox, a surprise box of treats, toys and accessories for your pooch. BarkBox articulates the Surprise Box promise on their website: “Each month’s box is thoughtfully crafted and each item unique from anything we’ll ever send in a later box — variety is the spice of life, no?” The company describes their target market as “dog parents,” not simply dog owners, and they now have over 200,000 subscribers.

A big part of the value these subscription companies provide is curation. Today, thanks to Google, virtually any product is an Internet search away, but there is no safeguard to ensure you are buying a good quality product or buying from a reputable supplier. In the case of BarkBox, at least part of their value proposition is that they screen out inferior products not fit for your pet. All of their dog treats come from US or Canadian suppliers, and none of their products include rawhide or anything processed with formaldehyde.



Who This Model Works Best For

Consider offering The Surprise Box Subscription Model if you have:

  • A passionate, clearly defined market of consumers.
  • A large and varied network of manufacturers who are willing to give you a deep discount for a one-time order and have the capacity to fulfill it.
  • The ability to deal with the logistics of shipping a physical product.
  • A desire to use subscriptions to establish a larger e-commerce site.


What The Insiders Say
  • A big part of the reason people subscribe is the excitement of always finding something new. Consider how you’ll keep surprising subscribers with new products, month after month.
  • Don’t underestimate the challenge of logistics and fulfillment. The more data you collect from your subscribers, the more they will expect you to customize their experience by sending them items based on their reported preferences. This exponentially grows the complexity of fulfillment.


Recurring Revenue is one of the “8 Key Drivers Of Company Value” from the Value Builder System™️, which I use to help small business owners increase the overall value of their businesses.

Being able to cash out the maximum when the time is right, is every business owners dream. It’s the dream of having a long and happy retirement, without financial worries, and being rewarded for all the hard work they put in over the years. But so many fail to get this right, because they never formally worked towards that goal, they thought it would just happen.

So if you’re a business owner who’s planning ahead and considering ways to exit your business on your terms, I hope the information I provide in the coming weeks will help you reach those goals. If you would like to chat to me about this in person, feel free to book a slot in my calendar and we can discuss it further.



FREE Assessment:

If you want to see how you score in each of the “8 Key Drivers” right now, take 15-minutes to complete this survey and you’ll get a comprehensive 25+ page report benchmarking your business against its peers, plus 49 tips on how to improve those 8 key areas.


8 Key Drivers Of Company Value Assessment