Gap Inc. has halted its outfit box subscription service roughly a year after it began testing the model.
Just as quietly as the retailer rolled out the pilot, at the end of July the apparel chain notified customers that it is “pausing the program,” a Gap spokeswoman says.
Gap has a message on its site notifying shoppers that it is no longer accepting new orders, and the last box for current customers should have arrived between June 18-Aug. 23.
Gap introduced its initial subscription box, babyGap Outfit Box, in May 2017. The retailer’s Old Navy brand launched a subscription outfit box for kids called Superbox in November 2017. And in April 2018, Gap launched a pajama subscription box called BedtimeBox.
The boxes arrived every three months, containing three to six garments that, bundled together, were about 30-40% off their full retail price.
“While the results were positive, we have decided to pause the programs and focus in other areas,” the spokeswoman says, without revealing any more.
In November 2017, Gap told Internet Retailer that 76% of babyGap Outfit Box shoppers kept all of the items in their box, and 91% of shoppers who received one box signed up for a second box.
Subscription services are not new, however, the model has had a renaissance in the last decade, with many subscription-only retailers launching between 2011-2014, according to an Internet Retailer analysis.
In addition to subscription-only retailers, other large chains are testing the model, such as retail chain Target Corp., with its beauty products box, everyday essentials box and baby apparel box Cat and Jack.
A subscription service is attractive to retailers because it bakes predictable, recurring revenue into their business model, and it may foster loyalty with shoppers, says Forrester Research Inc. analyst Lily Varon. However, once the novelty of the subscription wears off, retailers need to offer additional value, such as personalization or access to a stylist, in order to keep shoppers coming back, she says.
“Subscription boxes are a hard model because consumers generally like to be in control of their purchases and the frequency with which they buy things,” Varon says. “Fashion is especially hard because it’s so personal. And it’s hard to create a really strong value add with a fashion subscription box.”
Gap is No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, and Target is No. 17.Favorite