The Rise of the “Mystery Box” and What it Means for Food & Beverage Brands


Mystery boxes have been around for over a decade. They got a marketing jump in 2013 when Neiman Marcus partnered with POPSUGAR to offer limited-edition boxes filled with luxury gifts and shipped to consumers’ homes.

What exactly are mystery boxes and how are they applicable in the Food & Beverage industry now?

Solving the Mystery

Mystery subscription boxes usually contain items selected by a brand and are then shipped directly to the customer’s home. Items are curated and offer a steep discount off the retail price.  Amazon Dash is trying this concept with Prime members, by invitation, in the form of a mystery Sweet Treats box, with candy curated from small batch brands from around North America.

No Mystery to Their Growth

According to Mondato , there are as many as 10,000 live subscription businesses in the United States. Improvements in parcel delivery and changes in consumer psychology were both necessary for the birth of the subscription box movement. Along with the introduction of social media and mobile commerce over the past decade, it’s not surprising to see how much this market has grown.

The rise of subscription box grocery services like Blue Apron and Home Chef speak to how appealing the convenience of subscription boxes are to consumer, as this concept evolves and seeps into industries other than personal care and beauty. In the food and beverage industry, we’re seeing more craft brands riding the wave of this trend.

Taking Advantage

Food and beverage brands can take advantage of this trend by strengthening their customer databases. First, crowd source to see if mystery boxes are something customers would be interested to do. If so, create ways to connect with customers through developing a feedback loop: collect customer information, start newsletters, reach out via social media, utilize Youtube to introduce new products, and of course optimize for mobile . Customer feedback is super important as it will help tweak your product to their needs.  Social media provides two key tools for the value proposition of a subscription box into something targeted and deliverable: big and small data. Combine these two tools to allow for the fairly precise targeting of marketing to retain current clients and on-board new customers

Jill England

Jill England

Jill likes to share usable information with readers spanning industries such as food, travel, beauty, sports, pets, holistic health, and all things green. She's a curious and avid consumer of information of all kinds to enable continuous learning and sharing.
Jill England