Collaboration in the Human Sciences

Consumers’ Perceptions towards Subscription Retail: A Focus on Online Fashion Box Services

Shopping for fashion products through subscription services is a new phenomenon in apparel retail. While subscription services are growing at a fast rate and generating awareness among consumers, little research has examined the reasons behind this online retail model. Using qualitative data, this study examined the shopping motivations of consumers enrolled in online fashion subscription companies. Fourteen subscribers from 11 different apparel, accessories and beauty-related subscription companies were interviewed. The transcribed interview data was analyzed using the NVIVO software.

Findings showed that the benefits received from the subscriptions relate to both utilitarian and hedonic shopping motivations. In addition, the study found style experimentation and wardrobe compatibility were two emerging motives to enroll in subscription services. For apparel subscription services with personal stylists, most participants emphasized the key role of a stylist/curator in delivering the value proposition of online subscription retail. Based on the findings, an inductive model was developed to explain the motivational constructs of apparel retail subscription and the facilitating role of the stylist/curator as the influencer. The stylist/curator and box delivery structure add value to the subscription experience and transforms the consumers’ subscription shopping experience.


  • Hye-Shin Kim, Ph.D. -
  • Dipti Bhatt -
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