Getting personal is more important than ever in commerce today. Consumers expect to have control and a great experience — this is just as true for subscriptions as it is for one-time orders.

When subscribers have the power to easily adjust their next order — and even skip one all together — they might be less likely to unsubscribe. That’s where build-a-box style order building comes in .

Subscriptions can frustrate consumers if they feel like their “control of purchase decisions has been lost”— and this can lead to higher unsubscribe rates. But if you up customer retention by just 5%, profits can increase by 25% to 95%! That’s a whole lot more money in your pocket.

It’s one of the seven models you can mix and match to create your own unique subscription service that attracts and retains subscribers. A build-a-box style subscription lets customers choose exactly what they want in their box, helping you build a better relationship with them.


  • It provides a fun, interactive experience and the customization many shoppers want.
  • It gives subscribers full control over perceived quality and quantity.
  • It allows you to identify which products are the most popular (based on frequency of selection) and expand on those or promote them more heavily to new customers.

Build-a-box subscriptions are most commonly associated with the meal kit industry, like HelloFresh or Blue Apron. But there are actually lots of versatile applications, from cannabis supplies to beauty products. Check out some great real-life examples below.

Build-a-box subscription examples

1.Kathy’s Table – Meal subscription

If you suffer from Celia c or Croon’s, it can be hard to find food that keeps you feeling good and healthy.

Luckily for people in the Jacksonville area, they can get gluten-free and dairy-free meals delivered to their door from Kathy’s Table.

Key takeaway: People are willing to support local and when you pair that with an easy-to-edit orders, you’re way more likely to keep customers happy and subscribed.

3. The Foreign Affair Winery – Wine Subscription

The Canadians behind this brand use Italian techniques to produce renowned wines. They also offer a monthly delivery of bottles through their Wine Club.

Key takeaway: With their Wine Club, Foreign Affair has a better chance of converting customers who might be afraid they won’t like the wines from a pre-selected box. This gives those shoppers the option to select their own.

Tip: Keep your subscriptions fresh & give customers a heads up that they can add more

Depending on the market you’re in, you might want to update your subscription product selection regularly. That way, every so often your subscribers can choose from new and exciting options, swapping out and trying other products.

You can even send out an email to subscribers a few days before you’re planning to ship to remind them to adjust or add more to their order. This can be great for increasing customer retention and increasing average order value.

How do you set up a build-a-box subscription on your store?

First, you need Bold Subscriptions to start your recurring order business on Shopify or BigCommerce.

Automatic substitutions

A cool feature that our Subscriptions app has is automatic product substitutions. So if you change up your subscription box and customers forget to log in and make new selections, they’ll still get products that match their preferences.

Let’s go with meal boxes as an example. The first month, a customer selects grilled eggplant parmesan as an entree and vegan brownies as a desert.

If you change your menu for their second month, but the subscriber forgets to make a new selection, the app will use the labels to automatically substitute your new menu item in the next order.