Neiman Marcus has apparently become the first fashion retailer to offer a limited-edition subscription box deal, also known as a "mystery box" because consumers don't exactly know what's inside. Even at a lofty $250 price tag, the box sold out in less than 24 hours.
The luxury assortment of gifts, first available October 16, was hand-selected by Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus' fashion director, and Lisa Sugar, founder and editor in chief of PopSugar, one of the leading monthly subscription box providers.
For $250, Neiman Marcus' box is said to offer items worth over $600. The mix includes a chevron throw and undisclosed products from eight high-end brands including items from designer Jonathan Adler and a custom Le Métier De Beaute item, designed by Mr. Downing and Ms. Sugar exclusively. The exact contents of the box won't be revealed until Nov. 17 when the items will be shipped to each subscriber's address.
The deal was marketed under PopSugar's monthly subscription box service, PopSugar Must Have.
"Neiman Marcus and PopSugar share a passion for procuring hip, hot and happening products that intrigue and delight," said Mr. Downing in a statement.
PopSugar is best known for its $35 monthly Must Have box, which offers a curated collection of beauty, fashion, home, fitness and food items. It also offers a $100 quarterly version — the 2012 holiday box sold out in 24 hours.
The internet has quickly become flooded with monthly subscription box offers tailored not only to the beauty/fashion crowd, but also to the eco-friendly set, pet owners, new parents, gamers, fitness enthusiasts and even more narrowly-defined audiences. The chance to try new products, the surprises, and the savings are driving their appeal. In most cases, the mystery box promises to deliver a curated selection holding a retail value at least double or triple the subscription price.
Retailers have been slow to explore opportunities around the trend. The most-widely covered attempt was Walmart's test launched in November 2012 of Goodies Co., a $7.00-per-month subscription service that delivers five to eight small samples of upscale food items not typically found on shelves in Walmart stores.
However, TechCrunch on Saturday reported that Goodies Co. would be shutting down in the next few weeks. Walmart said in the e-mail to TechCrunch, "We are letting Goodies customers know we will discontinue shipping boxes, but the technology and learnings from Goodies have enabled several new products we are incorporating into our mainline Walmart.com business."
How would you rate the mystery box opportunity for retailers?