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Tech Talk: It’s Time To Embrace Artificial Intelligence

AI could change the game for subboxes.

Until recent years, artificial intelligence was often associated with science fiction and looked at as an achievement that wouldn’t manifest for centuries to come. But thanks to the rapid advance in technology, we’re starting to associate AI with the present, and more excitingly, businesses and business models.

We sat down with Paul Chambers, Head of Technology at SUBTA, to gather insight on the possibilities of AI and how subscription-based companies could potentially leverage this technology.

“There are two big benefits we see in subscription models,” Paul says. “The first being discovery — finding new products and styles to try that you haven’t found before — and the second being convenience. AI can play a role in each but in different aspects. From a discovery and personalization side, AI can start to learn your preferences and habits and pair it with the community of other consumers out there.”


Fashion Take Amazon’s Echo Look for example. It takes photos of your outfits then applies stylists’ input and current trends to decide which ensemble looks best. Over time, the Echo Look’s suggestions will change as it learns your style preferences. Furthermore, if enough people are showing similar behavior, then the group’s preferences will begin to alter the device’s general decisions.

“If we can nail what people are looking for, and tell them what works well and what matches more often, people are likely to stay longer because we’re delivering something more valuable to them based on the community,” Paul said.

Cooking The Echo Show is another device that could have a big impact on box businesses by leveraging artificial intelligence. Let’s say Hello Fresh wanted to host cooking instruction videos on the Echo Show to correspond with specific recipes. In time, the Echo Show could potentially determine the viewers’ cooking pace or average number of pauses, then provide the data to Hello Fresh. Or, perhaps the gadget could learn what steps are challenging for each user and automatically pause the video as those moments approach.

Again, these are just a few potential ways artificial intelligence could benefit the subscription community. AI could lead to greater engagement throughout the whole process, as well as greater longevity of people staying with products. Utilizing this technology would make the consumer experience even more comfortable and less frustrating.


From a convenience standpoint, AI could start to integrate with smart home devices and appliances. Conversations could soon go from:

You: Alexa, I ran out of razors.

Alexa: I’m sorry to hear that.


You: Alexa, I just put on my last razor blade.

Alexa: Would you like me to start your Harry’s subscription back up?


Using AI To Build Better Boxes

Paul says the big play here isn’t just about working with AI but also looking at Amazon as a whole and how its platform and extensive knowledge of customers can evolve subscription-based businesses.

Imagine if Pley installed an app on Amazon’s platform and your child received its latest Disney Princess Box. Pley could set up survey questions, and the child could provide feedback for Pley to leverage and learn from when building future boxes.

Kid: Alexa, I just got my Princess Box!

Alexa: That’s awesome. What did you like about this box?

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence

There’s still a long way to go, but the world of possibilities will only expand as Amazon continues to build out its AI platforms. Conversations with devices will become more personal and less generic. Perhaps one day, technology will advance so far that there will be facial recognition in shopping malls and AI will only display advertisements that pertain to your preferences.

Whether you’re a startup or a veteran, all box companies could benefit from artificial intelligence. As his final piece of advice, Paul suggests you “Consider all the possibilities and let your mind open up to what you could do. Or, come up with your dream scenario then back into what’s possible today and what’s possible for the future.”