Umba Box lets subscribers enjoy handmade goodies every month

As the retail industry migrates toward the use of subscription models instead of one-time purchases, startup commerce companies continue to emerge with new offerings and unique products.

Take Umba Box, for example. By subscribing to the service, individuals will receive a monthly gift box containing a handmade surprise chosen by the company’s founder, Lauren Thorp.

Consumers have several subscription offerings to choose from, including a recurring payment option of $25 a month. Other models include a three-, six- and 12-month program for prepaid amounts of $75, $150 and $275, respectively.

Each product is handmade by a local artist and every box contains a detailed story about the creator, allowing customers to discover new crafters around the United States.

“It’s hard to find quality items that are homemade,” Thorp told the Washington Post. “I was thinking, wouldn’t it be fun if there were an Etsy-of-the-month club?”

Etsy is an online marketplace that features handcrafted and vintage merchandise.

Following in the footsteps of other subscription commerce companies, Thorp chose to deploy a service that offers curated items, compared to ones that automate purchases, the Washington Post noted. The idea came to her when she was looking for handmade products for her wedding but was annoyed at the endless searching that was required.

“People love Etsy but it’s cluttered and hard to find things,” Thorp said, according to the Washington Post.

The growing presence of subscription commerce companies suggests that the retail industry is experiencing significant changes and migrating away from the standard, one-time payment business model. By leveraging a subscription management platform, businesses – even startups – can potentially gain a competitive advantage over rival services by managing customer accounts more effectively and strengthening relationships.

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The Forrester Wave: Subscription Billing Platforms, Q4 2015

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