Conde Nast sees commerce opportunities in branded subscription boxes

Excerpts from an article by Max Willens in Digiday

Condé Nast U.S. wants to use its brands as taste-makers. This June, GQ will launch a grooming box filled with products GQ and Allure editors have selected. GQ will be the fourth Condé title to get its own box in the past year, joining Brides, Condé Nast Traveler and Teen Vogue, which have all launched limited-edition boxes, either in partnership with Allure or with third parties.

“We’re trying to diversify our revenue,” said Jill Friedson, Condé Nast’s head of brand marketing and strategic partnerships.

Though their contents — and prices — can differ widely, the proposition of a branded subscription or gift box is about the same: a small assortment of items, many of them travel-sized, gets shipped to a customer’s door every month, with a dollar value that’s normally higher than the subscription’s monthly cost. Teen Vogue’s back-to-school box, for example, costs $39 but includes $145 worth of stuff, like a $19 eyebrow crayon and a $39 vibrating face-washing implement.

All of the boxes’ items are sourced and purchased up front by the publisher, which makes boxes a riskier, more expensive and more resource-intensive revenue source than affiliate links or even on-demand, drop-shipped products.

But subscription boxes also come with a major upside. A healthy subscription box operation can help publishers shore up print circulation, drive e-commerce revenue and deepen relationships with advertisers and other marketing partners. So a publisher like Condé Nast, which has a big database of women that have read or previously subscribed to other titles, sees opportunity.

“We think there’s a big base of women who are hungry for these kinds of products,” Friedson said.

Read the full article on Digiday and check out Zuora’s ebook – 9 Keys to Building Success in the Subscription Economy

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