08/12/21 Jacob Holmes

The Ultimate UX Guide to Subscription Boxes


The Subscription Box market has been growing well over the past couple of years and has quickly become a popular choice amongst consumers, whether that be as gift ideas (Birthday and Christmas) or self purchases as well as to make the process of buying some of their favourite beers, foods or even stationery even easier through automated, repeat purchases.

We've delved into this world to offer some insights into what works and what doesn't. We've identified market leaders and highlighted the aspects that allow them to cut through the noise, increasing conversions and bootsing revenue

The Subscription Box Market

It was reported last summer that the UK’s Subscription Box Market is forecasted to be worth £1.8 Billion by 2025. Due to the global pandemic their prevalence was dramatically boosted in conjunction with increased online purchasing by consumers whilst we all had to stay at home (seems so long ago now, yet still a topic of debate!)

In 2020, consumers spent a whopping £1.4 billion on subscription boxes, whilst delivery providers distributed around 88 million boxes to customers around the UK. Additionally, research from Barclaycard Payments shows that the value of subscription boxes has risen by 23% to £395 million.

The value of these companies is clear, yet some seem to be doing it so much better than others.

We’ve broken the who, what, why and how’s down for you in this Whitepaper, which is free to download, use and share. Additionally within this Whitepaper, you will be able to score your own site, to see where you rank amongst the best.

CRO Whitepaper

What’s in this Whitepaper?

Some of the main players identified within this marketplace include: Gousto, Hello Fresh, Mindful Chef, Birchbox, Papergang and Pact Coffee to name a few.  These top sites were firstly identified through market share a and then ranked on a series of key features relating to user experience (UX)

subscription company leaderboard

This report aims to identify the common strengths that these companies provide in order to attract and maintain repeat custom.

Key Notes

Below are a list of some of the key elements discussed which assist with conversion and therefore boost revenue

  • Simplistic Process - Keeping the process of making a purchase, choosing your product easy and pain free results in greater conversion.

  • Trials and One-offs - Offering trials and one-off deals allow the consumer to test out, not just the product but the process around receiving the item too. Often resulting in a purchase further down the line as trust and satisfaction has been achieved.

  • Ability to Cancel, Skip and Pause - An easy CSP process mitigates customers or potential customers from feeling trapped or forced into contu=inuing with payments. Through strong visibility here, trust in the brand is further strengthened.

  • Progression Indication - Visibility around how far the user is along the purchase journey further develops motivation to complete the transaction

  • Personalisation - Having the ability to personalise your subscriptions, most commonly seen in recipe boxes, is a great way of ensuring the customer is getting exactly what they are after, therefore resulting in higher satisfaction.

  • Singular entry pathway and high contrast CTA’s - standing out to the human eye is key in terms of conversion, this is displayed by the top site as their CTA’s carry a high contrast, easily picked out by consumers.

These are just a handful of the areas identified as drivers for ensuring repeat custom and excelling in this market


The overall aim of operating within this marketplace is to develop lifetime value of customers through repeat custom. The differing ways of achieving this are explored and presented using analysis from market leaders. Ranging from keeping the process simple, fun and easy to creating knowledge hubs and communities, these conveniences and how they are done, are what separates the top from the bottom.

Always remember, your users are looking to save time and effort, so keep it clean, simple and focussed.

We’ve added a section to help you audit your own site to see how you compare against the ‘crème de la crème’. The audit is broken down into two scoring systems, the first looking at sector specific elements and the latter taking a more general approach. The higher your combined score the better, which will provide you with some food for thought in terms of how to improve and reach the top.

Download White Paper

Jacob Holmes

Sport Business Management graduate turned Strategic Marketing Executive, focussed on developing personalised marketing campaigns.