subscription boxes

Jeannie and Adam discuss the past, present and future of custom subscription boxes and their growing role in the data revolution.

Subscription boxes enter the data revolution

In the past few years, we have seen explosive growth in data collection methods. As a result, marketers get a better ROI on their campaigns while delivering more personalized products, services, and experiences.

And now we’ve seen a growing trend in subscription boxes, where consumers offer much richer information from the start. Services like BirchBox, StitchFix, BarkBox, Blue Apron, and many others, offer custom-tailored boxes based not only on their initial preferences, but their behavior of returning merchandise, upgrading and downgrading service levels, and more.

But now these services are beginning to use Artificial Intelligence to analyze this data, and really leveraging the power of smart algorithms.

This serves not only to reduce the costs of keeping stylists and consultants on the ready, but to create richer customer profiles and inform new ways of segmenting. The robots are collecting and acting on information about size, weight, dietary preferences, styling preferences, and many more things marketers wouldn’t have dreamed of having access to in the past.

So, this all sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s a win/win where organizations have increasingly powerful data at hand and consumers save precious time knowing someone (or something) is making good choices for them, possibly better than the choices they’d make on their own.

However, you might guess that we’ve been wondering if this is sustainable, and we certainly are! What happens when algorithms start sending things they think customers should like, but don’t? Then what happens when customers “settle” for those choices simply to receive incentives for future purchases?

In the search for perfect data, marketers and their robots continually open the door for new imperfect forms of targeting, and consequently, imperfect customer experiences. So this growing trend of subscription boxes coupled with the use of AI is rife with potential for disaster!

In this episode, we dive into this trend from the customer’s perspective, look back at how it all got started, where it is today, and what it may mean for the future of marketing and big data. Our robots say you need to listen in!


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