Some day, we will be telling our grandchildren about the Great Pandemic of 2020. “Suzy, it was amazing. People were grabbing all the toilet paper they could carry. For weeks, the shelves were barren of paper products and sanitizers!”
While hoarding during a disaster (hurricanes, pandemics, etc.) is not uncommon, we are, in fact, a world of hoarders. In fact, the idea that something could not be easily attained has been the root cause of wars, political upheavals, and divorces.
This current economic challenge is why I feel that subscription box businesses, especially in the food and personal care verticals, will see a nice growth curve this year.
Many people are now learning how to shop online. As prevalent as shopping on the web was before the COVID-19, it’s even more so now. In addition, shoppers are still finding many items in short supply, priced higher than before, or inconvenient to get without putting oneself at risk.
My wife and I order our groceries online, then pick them up curbside at the nearby grocer (H.E.B., a major Texas chain, has been brilliantly successful at meeting the needs of its customers from the very beginning of the Great Quarantine). We are ordering more online now than we ever did before.
With the increased familiarity with new and enhanced ways of shopping, more and more people will also become more comfortable exploring alternative shopping sources. And if consumers really want to avoid shortages of often-used items, subscription box services could be the perfect way to hoard over time.
If consumers really want to avoid shortages of often-used items, subscription box services could be the perfect way to hoard over time.
By using a subscription box service, a customer can be assured they will receive a regular allotment of products without having to wonder if the items are available for local pickup or quick delivery from an online vendor. For so many products, we wait until 1) we run out and quickly need to replenish, or 2) we are reminded of our need when walking down the aisles of the store. When we are sequestered in our homes and rarely venture out, neither of these methods of shopping is possible.
Therefore, I think that, except for the subscription merchants who are so obviously over-priced, their customers are dripping with excess cash, we may see a continual emergence of subscription suppliers who can provide a steady delivery of basic commodity items in addition to the non-essentials of jewelry and club-wear. We may see food subscription businesses, such as HelloFresh and Home Chef, add more basic staples to their offerings. Need to brush your teeth after eating our meal? Add a monthly shipment of Crest to your order!
An Opportunity Emerges
I know you may be trying to reason how you could quickly jump into this market. And, so am I, to be honest. But subscription businesses are not easy. While there are several platforms you can use to sell your boxes, the logistics of building and shipping a regular series of boxes is considerable. Especially since reliable supply chains remain elusive and expensive in many areas.
Not to mention the scope of marketing and selling to a populace over-inundated with news and information. There’s a lot of noise to cut through. With pay-per-click advertising in higher demand, costs are going up for advertising, as well.
But, if you’re adventurous, well-capitalized (don’t underestimate the cost of building one of these businesses), and can move quickly, I believe there’s a great opportunity to build on the need for people to feel secure that they can always have their favorite brand of toilet paper to softly soothe their daily irritations.
Subscription Platform Suggestions
The following are some leading solutions for selling subscription box style products: