How Subscription Boxes are Shaping Design Trends

Christian Bourgeois . April 23, 2024

In traditional brick-and-mortar retail, the role of packaging design lies primarily in capturing attention of a potential customer on a crowded shelf. Recent shifts in consumer behavior, influenced by subscription boxes, have redefined the role of packaging design. In the hybrid online/retail or wholly online distribution model, there is a greater emphasis on creating immersive consumer experiences rather than just grabbing attention. In this blog, we’ll explore how subscription boxes and digital disruptors are reshaping packaging design trends and transforming the way products are packaged and presented to consumers.

1. The Art of Arrival: Enhancing Brand Experience 

Subscription box companies recognize the power of packaging design in shaping consumers’ overall brand experience. From the moment a package arrives on their doorstep, consumers are immersed in a carefully curated brand narrative via packaging design.

In the model, the customer orders the product sight unseen. The purchase arrives via delivery. Unboxing is often the first moment of actual customer experience. The opening moment is meant to provide a multisensory experience along a carefully branded path—packaging is no longer just to grab attention on the shelf.

With their distinct voice and brand values at every touchpoint of unboxing subscription boxes, subscription box companies can effectively engage customers and elevate their overall brand experience. The experience is crafted from cohesive brand colors, visual themes, and captivating slogans. These visual elements seamlessly guide customers through a branded journey as they unveil products layer by layer. 

Take Ollie, for example. They offer top-tier ingredients for dog food subscription boxes. Their marketing highlights the emphasis on quality by showcasing carefully curated subscription boxes. With vibrant design elements and thoughtful presentation at every touch point, the unboxing experience becomes a more memorable and immersive journey for the customer. These curated boxes aren’t just about the food itself; they’re about the tailored selection that aims to surprise and delight.

2. Beyond the Box: Building Brand Loyalty through Emotional Connections  

Emotional connections can lead to long-term brand loyalty. Packaging design and experience design are the vectors by which these emotional connections are built. Consumers who feel a strong bond with a brand are more likely to become repeat buyers and ultimately brand advocates. Subscription box companies work hard to communicate authenticity and shared values to customers.



Consider Cora Organic Tampon packaging. Cora is dedicated to providing organic products made from organic cotton that are free from dyes. This commitment also opens the door to innovative material selections like biodegradable packaging and tactile finishes like a soft touch. By integrating these unique design choices, Cora’s packaging design enhances the consumer’s sensory experience. This thoughtful approach deepens the connection between customers and the brand but also builds a stronger sense of brand loyalty.

3. Shaping the Future: Redefining Sustainability 

As environmental awareness grows, subscription companies increasingly turn to sustainable packaging solutions to minimize ecological footprint. Recyclable packaging and minimal deployment of materials are strategies adopted by companies with sustainability as a key consideration. 

The grocery subscription box, Good Eggs, stands out as an example of this commitment. Good Eggs offers customers the option to return used Good Eggs boxes, ice packs, and glass bottles. This initiative not only reduces waste but also encourages customers to actively participate in the company’s sustainability efforts by returning these items with their next delivery.

4. The Power of Versatility: Embracing Scalability and Modularity 

Many subscription boxes offer customization options. This emphasis on personalization encourages customers to tailor their consumption through the versatile supply chain which can now cater to diverse tastes. Design trends within subscription box brands prioritize flexibility and modularity to accommodate individual preferences.

KiwiCo is a great example. KiwiCo delivers hands-on science, art, and engineering projects for kids. The subscription boxes are tailored to specific age groups and interests. Given the diverse customization options available, the packaging design prioritized scalability and modularity to facilitate an efficient product development cycle.

5. Crafting Personalized Experiences: Exploration of Niche Markets

Subscription companies understand the importance of personalized, visually appealing packaging that stands out for customers. Personalization encourages designers to create unique and specialized designs that resonate with specific audiences. As a result, subscription boxes contribute to diverse design trends that spotlight niche aesthetics, motifs, and design philosophies.

Harry’s, the razor brand, is renowned not only for high-quality razors but also for their innovative marketing approach to tapping. Unlike traditional razors sold through conventional retail channels, Harry’s razors offer personalized razor options for their handles, including various colors, patterns, and materials tailored to individual preferences. This strategic move allows Harry’s to cater to a more premium and sophisticated razor market exploring beyond the traditional male-focused demographic.

Unboxing the Future

Overall, subscription boxes are not just delivering products—they’re delivering experiences. Subscription companies are shaping the future of consumer engagement, driving trends, and setting new standards for the industry. As consumer expectations continue to evolve, subscription boxes will continue to influence design innovation, inspire creativity, and explore novel approaches to build deep customer connections.