Out of the box

A monthly surprise delivery to your doorstep - what's not to love? Debbie Yong looks at the recent resurgence and potential pitfalls of subscription retail services in Singapore, and highlights a few notable ones.

IT SEEMS like a no-brainer. Man has needs (or wants). Man is lazy. Subscription retail programmes deliver those needs (and wants) to Man's doorstep on a regular basis - all at the click of a mouse. Man is happy. Pioneered by four-year-old American start-up Birchbox, subscription box services are now dime-a-dozen in the United States and Europe - and the innovative retail format is fast becoming a way of life here too, with more than 10 of such new services launched in the first eight months of this year, by everyone from local actresses to mum-preneurs and former bankers.

The subscription retail model works like this: buyers commit to a one-month, three-month, six-month or an annual subscription...

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