FabFitFun, which offers women a seasonal package filled with $200 of lifestyle products for a $50 fee, unveiled a mobile app that uses augmented reality (AR) to enliven the unboxing ritual. When members open the app, they'll see the packaging of this summer’s box come alive as music plays, the Los Angeles-based company said.
Scanning each product with the phone’s camera will provide information like product details, styling tips and ratings. When the app is opened without the box or products nearby, members can play with AR toys like balloons and beach balls.
Michael Stars, bkr, Kris Nations, Juice Beauty, Cargo HD and Eau Thermale Avène are among the brands featured in this season’s box. The FabFitFun app is available now in Apple’s App Store and will be ready on Google Pay in the next few weeks.
The AR component of FabFitFun’s mobile app is likely to be a short-lived novelty, unless playing with virtual beach balls becomes a major source of entertainment for some users. The more useful features include the ability to scan products to learn more about them and the practical value of easily accessible styling tips, rather than users having to take the extra steps of going online to search for more information.
More than 2,500 subscription box companies have started in the past three years, and the industry rapidly continues to grow. The companies are estimated to generate more than $90 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, according to the Subscription Trade Association, which was formed last month to represent the booming industry. As the subscription box space becomes more crowded over time, these companies will have to find ways to innovate and differentiate themselves, as FabFitFun is doing with its new mobile app and AR features.
Merchandisers that market their products in subscription boxes may one day be able to use mobile apps to cross-market other product lines or to drive direct sales. The technology would require more development, but it could likely be worth pursuing for product marketers and similar subscription-box companies as AR and image-recognition technology rapidly advance.