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Are Subscription Boxes the Future for Publishers?

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Written by Aysling

Published: 06/29/2021

Subscription boxes. They are providing greater opportunities for publishers to expand their revenue.

More and more people are signing up for them: large numbers of consumers have signed up for boxes from publishers such as Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping and other magazines.

People like subscription boxes because it gives them a sense of the excitement of discovery when they open up the boxes. The boxes began more with niche companies, but now even major retailers are getting in on the act.

What is a subscription box?

There is actually no definitive description of what makes something a subscription box, but there are some common characteristics that all subscription boxes must have.

  • It is an actual physical object that is delivered, so digital subscriptions don’t count.
  • There must be a recurring subscription.
  • It has an interesting combination of products inside that make it unique and so much fun for consumers.

The element of surprise is a big draw for subscription boxes. They should contain products that the customer has not seen before, so he or she is discovering something new. The boxes are usually curated, which means some knowledgeable person chooses the items that relate to a specific niche or category.

The boxes are delivered each month and can range in price from $10 to $100.

Subscription boxes are really taking off in the United Kingdom

Publishers there are using them to boost their readership. 

In Britain, uOpen.com was recently launched. It is an online marketplace for advertising various types of subscription boxes. And publishers there are taking advantage of the burgeoning market for subscription boxes.

For example, First News has the First Wonder Box and Stack Independent Magazines has the Stack Box. uOpen helps these kind of publishers to reach people who want the boxes and so increase their sales.

uOpen helps publishers sell their subscription boxes. It also helps them to connect with subscription box companies who are looking for partners.

U.S. publishers starting to discover subscription boxes

In the United States, publishers appear to be moving in the same direction, bundling their subscriptions with other products.

Business Insider, for example, has linked up with American Express. The publication has more than doubled its readership since 2020 and now offers people with AmEx cards free six-month or 12-month trials to the digital magazine. This is the first partnership that is designed to increase subscriptions for Business Insider.

The Wall Street Journal has been among the most aggressive publications in forming partnerships with other brands. The newspaper now has more than 40 cooperative agreements with other companies in 25 different countries.

Some of these unions are with other publications, but an increasing number are with other types of businesses, especially in Asia. Subscription bundling has played a major role in increasing the growth in readership, according to a Journal spokesperson.

These partnerships are a win-win situation, according to Journal officials. On the one hand, the bundling drives its subscription increases. On the other hand, by providing the Journal free to their consumers, other companies are also able to gain new customers and retain current ones.

Why subscription boxes could be a good move for your publication

  1. Subscription box providers understand subscription management.
  2. They are no strangers to the Post Office.
  3. They have strong relationships with advertisers and brands who offer products and services.
  4. They traditionally have a strong network.
  5. They understand how to advertise their services and products.

Subscription boxes and MagHub

The MagHub platform can easily handle the addition of subscription box services with our subscription management module, webforms, billing and invoicing capabilities, storefront, and ecommerce setup.

We’d love to show you how our cloud-based software solution can handle all aspects of your publishing enterprise, everything from subscriptions, flatplanning, billing, freelancers, projects and marketing – all from within one system.

Contact us to learn more or to set up a real-time demonstration.

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