Articles,  Stuff I Like

Subscription Boxes: What you didn’t know you need to know.

20131217_112816 (1)So I don’t have a lot of reviews for the subscription boxes yet, but I’ve already learned a few very important things that I thought I should share. There are, of course, the basics. How much is the subscription? Are you locked into a plan? Can you cancel at anytime? What if you don’t want the box? (Some companies allow you to skip a box or choose which box you’d prefer.)

Beyond that, if you’re looking at signing up for one (or more!) subscription boxes, here are a few things you might want to explore.

What are the shipping rates?  You need to find out if the cost of shipping is rolled into the box or if it’s separate. One of the boxes that I signed up for has separate shipping AND it’s located in Canada. That means international shipping rates. It’s a pretty popular box, but when I signed up for three months, it added a pretty hefty price that I wasn’t expecting.  Conversely, several of the boxes that I have signed up to try have the shipping rates rolled in. If they say $19.99 for the month, they mean that’s what you pay. Not $19.99 and then $8 shipping on top. In short, make sure you don’t get sticker shock!

When do they ship?  Each subscription box has a cut off date and a shipping window each month. If you sign up after that date, you could be waiting weeks before your first delivery comes.  This may make you nervous about whether you made a right decision or not. Randomly picking a box full of surprise items can be nerve-wracking for some. Be aware of how long you may be waiting before your box arrives or it could turn the whole process into a stressful situation.

Is there an introductory box?  Some companies have an introductory box available the second you sign up. It’s not really varied too much but you get it pretty much right away. This might mean that you get charged shortly after for your first ‘real’ shipment. It’s kind of cool to receive your box right away, but be aware that it’s not always indicative of what will be in future boxes. It’s designed to draw you in.

Reviews:  If you’re looking for reviews of subscription boxes, you need to be wary. (The irony of me starting a series of articles reviewing subscription boxes does not escape me.) Many subscription services are happy to send out review boxes and will do it willingly, but there’s a catch. That’s not always what comes in other people’s boxes. So if I get a box to review, it might be ‘stacked’ favorably in order to get a good review. Most people will happily give a good review in return for ‘stuff’ – so if you’re reading reviews, make sure you find out if they got the box for free. And if they did, is it the same box you’ll be getting?

This whole subscription box idea is pretty cool and has the potential to be really fun, but if you’re going to jump into it, make sure you’re well informed too. That will definitely help the experience!