Road Warrior

For all things and all seasons, a subscription box

Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
Minimus.biz offers a monthly subscription box filled with a surprise sampling of travel-size products.
Source: Minimus.biz

Want a regular supply of clothes, candy, food or even medicinal weed? As it turns out, there's a box for that.

There's a boom underway in curated subscription boxes for just about everyone, from foodies and fishers to pet owners (cats, dogs, rats and other small animals), candy lovers, horror fans, doomsayers and medical marijuana users. A recent study by Hitwise states that visits to subscription box sites have skyrocketed by nearly 3,000 percent to 21.4 million over the last few years.

Experts peg the start of the subscription box movement to Birchbox, a monthly beauty and grooming sample subscription service that began back in 2010 and has raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital.

Liz Cadman, founder of My Subscription Addiction, a website that reviews subscriptions boxes, told CNBC that "back in 2012, there were about 200 subscription box services." Today, she has more than 2,000 services in her directory.

"Virtually any consumer product can be sold via a subscription model," said Brian Runnals, founder of Postfly Box, a subscription box service for the $1 billion-dollar fly-fishing industry. He ties the rise in the popularity of subscription boxes to the habits of millennial consumers.

"Young, tech-savvy customers want to make very easy, very quick purchasing decisions," said Runnals. "Also, I would like to thank Amazon for getting America hooked on Prime," he joked, speaking of the retail giant's subscription delivery service.

While the market for subscription boxes seems unending, there are challenges. Gene Hoffman, CEO of Vindicia, a company that provides the billing platform for large subscription service providers, said the single price model "may be leaving money on the table from your potential best customers."

Hoffman told CNBC that "there's a lot of room for box subscriptions to innovate around how to add premium offerings and add on products to their base subscriptions."