Riding the subscription box wave: Understanding the landscape, challenges, and critical success factors of the subscription box industry

Yana Andonova, Murray State University
Nwamaka A. Anaza, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Delancy H.S. Bennett, Clemson University

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a peer-reviewed article published by Elsevier in Business Horizons, available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2021.02.024


The subscription box e-commerce industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last 5 years. Given the growing size of the industry, this business model warrants the close attention of firms currently offering subscription services as well as companies considering entering this industry. This article presents a detailed overview of the subscription box industry and proposes a framework—the four Cs—for understanding subscription offerings. It identifies challenges and opportunities facing this industry, and it provides managers with guidance in the form of five tenets on how to navigate the subscription box economy