Subscription commerce is a business model by which consumers subscribe to periodically receive a product or a box of new products or samples.
There are different types of susbcription commerce models:
The replenishment model which allow consumers to avoid the chore of replenishment buying and to eventually benefit from good prices. This can apply to diapers, razor blades, socks, contact lens, etc.
With the "collector" model, subscribers receive a different model of the same product each period. For instance, a shoe subscription company can send every month a pair of shoes for a fixed price. Some subsription commerce companies allow consumers to preview the product in a showroom and sometimes skip a delivery.
Sampling models allow subscribers to receive new products and samples. They are found mainly in beauty and food sector. Products and samples are delivered in "surprise boxes". In this case, subscription commerce companies have two customers. Subscribers who want to discover new products and brands who want to promote their new products.
A subscription boxes directory:
An interview of Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp :