About Cratejoy

From music to prayer, dinner to dinosaurs, Cratejoy is “the world’s first subscription box marketplace” where you can learn about the newest subscriptions services that fit every lifestyle. Just log on to their home page, browse subscriptions, choose a category (e.g. Art & Culture, Just for Women, Summer Favorites, etc.), or search for a specific keyword.

Cratejoy constantly curates new subscription services, so you’ll always have up-to-date access to the latest additions, while their customer reviews can help you choose the right one to suit your needs. Like HighYa, Cratejoy also manually moderates and approves everything on their site to prevent fake reviews, spam, and other types of abuse.

Cratejoy will even subscribe to some of these services themselves. If they find one that is high quality, safe to use, and easy to cancel, they’ll brand it as “Cratejoy Powered,” which means you can trust it.

Finally, if you have an idea for a subscription service but don’t know where to begin, Cratejoy can help you get your business off the ground through their ecommerce platform (more about this in a moment)!

But should you spend time browsing Cratejoy’s extensive subscription service listings? Is their business program a good way to ensure success? Are there better options out there?

Let’s find answers to your most important questions.

What is a Subscription Service?

A subscription service (also known as discovery commerce or subscription commerce) is “an ecommerce activity by which consumers subscribe to periodically receive a box with new products or samples. Discovery commerce activities are mainly found in beauty, apparels and food sectors.”

Sign up for something that interests you (each company has their own niche), and you’ll receive a monthly shipment containing a variety of items. Many subscription services will change themes each month (e.g. “Dreaming of Paris” for a foodie subscription; “The Days of Analog” for a technology service) so you’ll rarely receive the same items in any given month.

Subscription commerce has become immensely popular over the past several years, and includes popular options such as Birchbox and Flaviar, and many others. Birchbox alone has more than 400,000 subscribers and is worth an estimated $485 million!

The bottom line? There are hundreds of subscription companies out there, and it seems like Cratejoy can help you sort through them, learn about other customers’ experiences, and find one that’s right for you. And outside of independent blogs and HelloSubscription.com, there doesn’t appear to be anything else remotely like them.

Ok, so Cratejoy seems useful from this aspect. But what about their business program?

How Can Cratejoy Help You Start a Subscription Business?

Sure, Cratejoy’s reviews could be helpful if you’re thinking about signing up for a service. But Cratejoy’s biggest emphasis—by far—is on their all-in-one subscription ecommerce platform.

Here, you’ll be able to create your own subscription store, customize your storefront using their website builder and template selections, and grow your recurring customer base. You won’t even need an internet host, since your website will be hosted directly on Cratejoy’s servers.

Speaking of customers, each of yours will have access to their own user account, where they can manage addresses, billing information, preferences, and more.

Regardless of your subscriber numbers, Cratejoy claims you’ll have everything you need to build, run, and scale your business, including referral programs and analytics. There are literally hundreds of features for Cratejoy stores, so be sure to check out their Features page, as well as their free tools and guides and Subscription School for educational material.

Cratejoy’s blog also features a variety of articles spotlighting different merchants, the success they’ve achieved, and how they accomplished it, as well as tips to grow your subscription business.

Sounds useful, but how much will it cost you?

Cratejoy’s Business Pricing

Searching for subscription plans on Cratejoy is free, although it doesn’t appear that you can sign up for a free account, save you selections, and so forth.

If you need a business account, Cratejoy’s All Access Plan will cost you $39 per month, along with a 1.25% + $0.10 per-transaction fee. There are no contracts, and you’ll be billed monthly.

Example: If each of your subscriptions cost $30 per month, you’ll pay Cratejoy about $0.48 per subscription. In addition to the $39 monthly fee.

If you’re not a Cratejoy merchant but would still like to have your service included in their Marketplace, you can get listed by contacting the company. The service is currently free, but they may eventually begin charging for each referral you receive.

If you need design services, Cratejoy offers a variety of Premier packages ranging between $2,500 and $8K. A la carte design “tweaks and help” are priced at $150/hr, with a minimum of 2 hours.

Important note: If you want to try out Cratejoy’s business service without a commitment, you can also take advantage of their 14-day trial—no credit card required. They even claim you’ll be able to get set up in just 5 minutes. Once your trial expires, it will roll over to $39/mo subscription.

Are other subscription companies finding this price reasonable?

Cratejoy’s Online Reputation

Cratejoy—founded by Amir Elaguizy and Alex Morse and based out of Austin, TX—had been in business for less than a year at the time of our research, and there wasn’t a lot of customer feedback for the company.

They had been discussed in a variety of popular publications, such as NPR, VentureBeat, WIRED, and more. Most of these were short writeups that focused more on the company than on user experience, and were published soon after the company was launched.

However, even after Cratejoy first entered the market in October 2014, WIRED claimed that the company already had 200 business subscribers, with another 3,500 on the waiting list.

Even though they’re popular, does this mean Cratejoy’s right for you?

The Bottom Line about Cratejoy

Cratejoy genuinely seems committed to providing a valuable service for anyone interested in learning more about subscription services, and for helping subscription businesses get off the ground.

However, just because they might provide all the platforms you need to run your subscription business, it’s still up to you to develop your boxes and source your products.

In layman’s terms? Cratejoy is simply a platform where you can sell your subscription boxes; not where you’ll find an A to Z “business in a box.”

What’s you experience with Cratejoy? Write your very own review below!


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Cratejoy:
  • 19 Customer Reviews
  • 11% Recommend This Company
1.4 out of 5
5 star: 10% 4 star: 0% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 0% 1 star: 89%

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  • Business Owner Beware

    • By Candice,
    • California,
    • Nov 28, 2015

    The marketplace has a 7 day cookie which takes your entire profit. Plus, they control your customer database. If you try to leave, all your subscriptions are canceled and you have to request all your subscribers make them switch manually. They DO NOT TELL YOU when a subscription is placed and it is not ran through your credit card company, it goes through their hopper and they issue money to you. THEY hold your customer's subscriptions. The accounting reports are weak.

    I'm thankful I am only running a pilot subscription for business plan research and I have a short list of customers otherwise taxes and allocations would be a nightmare since Cratejoy can't provide a report that shows what you received less, fees, less their cut, less tax & shipping. Honestly, I feel like Cratejoy owners are crooks. When I am done with my project, I will close my store and NEVER use Cratejoy!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Don't Do It!

    • By Alex,
    • Dallas, TX ,
    • Jan 14, 2016

    Don't do it. Stay away. Unless this is an approval revenue stream for you and you have an existing business with existing profits, this will not be a legitimate source of income for those wanting to make this their primary business for the reasons that the comments list below. They steal all of your profit by charging 10% for a costumer they claim to have brought to you. Every month! There were numerous customers that my team and I talked with through Facebook or email prior to them signing up and once they did, Cratejoy said they brought them to us. Plus what they don't tell you is that you will be paying Cratejoy their monthly rate, and processing fee, AND you will be paying Stripes processing fees. Plus their shipping costs are on average .30-.75 cents higher per shipment than printing on stamps.com as a business. Bottom line, if you're not currently in business, this will not propel you to your financial dreams, rather they will let you try to grow your subscription business while they take all your money.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Extra 10% charges on profit on top of their regular fees.

    • By Lindsey J.,
    • San Diego, CA,
    • Dec 11, 2015

    When I first used Cratejoy I was under the impression that they only charge $39.99 monthly fee, and "$0.54 per sale (our fees are 1.25% + $0.10 per transaction). Assuming you are using Stripe you will pay $1.34 per transaction in Credit Card Fees (based on 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction)."

    There is a large hidden fee that I was not aware until I received my first subscriber. Cratejoy also charge 10% to all your profits for listing your store in their marketplace.

    I don't understand why they are charging 10%, when it should be a flat fee. Because they are charging a percentage, Cratejoy are crooks. The sellers loose a lot of profit using crate's platform.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Buyer beware!

    Okay, these horrible reviews are actually based on Cratejoy's old pricing; their new pricing is now a whopping $139 per month. This is what you pay to get to use their "website builder" and a built-in referral program. If you don't want your own website, you can only list your box in the Cratejoy Marketplace for $39.99 and have no other means of building your own brand or website.

    On top of this, if using their marketplace, they own your customer payment information. You can't get that info at all, you'd have to email customers one by one to resubscribe if ever you decide to have your own website. Then on top of the $139 or $39, they charge you their fees per transaction, which includes shipping, so they take their cut even from the shipping your customer pays for. On top of this, they take another 10%, which they say is their referral fee for listing you in the marketplace, which you are paying for already.

    Even as an existing customer, you are still robbed with their ridiculous fees, which includes shipping. Their website designer is horrible and antiquated and limited. Their add-on apps are horrible and limited. They have no Zapier support and no easy way of running an e-commerce site tied into your subscription business.

    It's important to note that I am both an old customer and a new customer. I have three subscription business; two are older and the new one is under a new LLC etc. After all the crap happening at Cratejoy, I have moved my businesses but kept the Cratejoy accounts open to service my old customers. New ones are all going through my new system with Shopify apps.

    I am slowly getting my old customers transferred to the new system so that I can effectively dump Cratejoy for good.

    Their process to innovate is also terribly slow. It takes them almost a year to implement 1-2 changes. They only recently added the ability to add an email address for a gift recipient!

    Older merchants are getting tired of the high fees, lack of communication and horrible customer service, even on their Facebook page where the customer representative is outright rude to anyone who questions Cratejoy policies or lack of communication on changes in policies.

    If they don't change their practices, they are going to lose a lot more than my thousands of subscribers.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Scam

    Cratejoy will let people pay for boxes that they never get, and they will do nothing about it. I was scammed out of two months of their sports box, and they said it was my problem.

    Now I joined another and it's two months late and again nothing. I am a sucker. Avoid at all costs!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Oct 6, 2017

      Company Response from Cratejoy

      Hi Troy,

      I apologize that you aren't getting the resolution you need. Can you send me a message with your contact information, and I will see what I can do?

      Ashley Conway

      ashley@cratejoy.com

      VP Customer Experience


  • Absolutely horrible for sellers, zero stars!

    • By Macy D.,
    • Seattle, WA,
    • Mar 17, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    You have NO control over your clients, your money or your business. Any semblance of this is just that...a mirage, a facade, or feigned.

    Worst experience with any platform, ever. I can't see any platform ever topping this, either. I'm not trying to be mean. This is utterly ridiculous to the point of being borderline insane. I, personally, have never felt so trapped in my life and I have been in situations of domestic violence.

    There is literally zero protection for sellers. ZERO. To say I'm flabbergasted at the lack of support would be a DRASTIC understatement.

    The frustration with this is beyond anything I've ever experienced and I have been in sales my whole life (over 20 years), owned my own sales offices with over 100 incredibly different and quirky employees, over 250,000 customers and have been selling online specifically for over 6 years on multiple platforms. Never, EVER, has there ever been an absolutely PTSD inducing experience such as the one we've had with Cratejoy. The support system and system as a whole is absolutely reprehensible. There honestly is not a word in the English language to describe it.

    Other issues:

    1. Customer service reps are not educated on policies, or they are just instructed to bend them as they please. They are also essentially their own "manager" as there is no-one to monitor performance or any "checks and balances" system. If a rep does not "like" you, be prepared for your business to suffer. There is absolutely no professionalism or accountability taken on Cratejoy's part. Period.

    2. Customers seem to be encouraged to leave negative feedback.

    3. Subscription School is a Cratejoy owned Facebook page that is supposed to be for helping out sellers but bans sellers and deletes comments/threads who mention anything bad about Cratejoy or its employees. There is literally a pinned post on the top warning sellers not to mention problems or anything bad or you will be banned. (The fact that it even had to mentioned at all signals a problem in itself and should tell you something.)

    4. If you try to get support and mention something Cratejoy views as "bad" and you will be punished for it. Whether it be with contacting subscribers, lack of support, no response reviews or all of the above.

    5. Absolutely NO responsibility taken for errors on Cratejoys part, better to just blame it on the sellers (NOT a good business model, nor is that sustainable).

    6. Sellers are essentially "trapped" on Cratejoy platform if they offer multiple months subscriptions.

    7. Fees are outrageous, and when you don't offer customer support (the SELLER is their customer btw, I think they are totally unaware of this though) then things can go a little sour. The fees on top of the monthly are so high that once you break it all down with the cost of the box you are losing money even on a $50 subscription. The longer you stay with Cratejoy the more truthful this will become for you as you start slowly hemorrhaging money.

    8. Cratejoy is only supposed to force refund in extreme circumstances, yet they will actually refund any time they want, without notice or reason, and then will blame it on the seller, once again because they take zero responsibility for anything they do.

    9. Cratejoy takes recognition and profit for sales they did not generate. This is, in my opinion, theft! You put in the work to generate the lead, they take the credit. It costs you 10% of the sale on TOP of their fees. They even take fees on shipping. Fees on top of fees on top of fees on top of fees. It is not hard to see where a click to a site came from, they are fully aware these are not their leads.

    10. Does not "offer" phone support. (This is for a REASON. Open your eyes!)

    11. Almost impossible to move platforms and retain YOUR subscribers. Without moving to another platform, re-branding and starting all over, there is really no escape.

    12. Review system is incredibly flawed.

    13. Support also only responds to what they feel like. It if is bad, don't expect a response at all, EVER. (Not kidding, not even a little bit)

    14. Customers can charge back MONTHS after receiving all of their packages.

    15. Zero follow through on promises.

    I should have read Cratejoy's own reviews other sellers have already left regarding this before ever signing up for this.

    We have held back on even reviewing the company for fear the box will be "punished" for the review.

    Maybe if the review system wasn't so flawed and allowed subscribers to leave multiple reviews in a row (which is against their own policy) that take days if not weeks to get a response on to get them removed and before the box was even marked shipped or was scheduled to ship this would be about 1/4 as terrible. The review window opens immediately, also non-verified purchases can leave multiple reviews (i.e., a subscriber can tell all their friends to leave reviews too and nothing will be done). This is more like an escalating day long back and forth between you and the customer than it is a review system at all. All you get is "we're working on a solution to the problem." Great. Thanks. In the meantime, all the hours we've put in (not to mention the money) will just continue to swirl down the toilet.

    Remember this: YOU are putting in the work, you are purchasing the product, you are packaging it, maintaining customer care, you are essentially running your own business and all the time spent on this is YOURS and yours alone. Cratejoy is only the medium. You are paying them for a "service" every month and a certain level of care is to be expected because of this. Cratejoy is well below the bar in all aspects and should not be considered under any circumstance when looking for a subscription platform.

    You also have to write in and wait days to post a response to a review, too. In the meantime customers are reading these, just thinking nobody cares to respond. Then come the charge-backs from others who get scared, then come the reviews referencing the first reviews that shouldn't have been allowed there in the first place. On what planet does that seem functional? What a joke. We've really tried everything possible to make it work and really held back on leaving this review for quite some time because we wanted to give the benefit of the doubt even though all the flags were there, but ultimately decided due to actions and repeated problems that others DO need to be warned.

    All in all, I give this 0 stars. Zero. Because of lack of support and the way the marketplace is set up, I do not see this ever improving. Dastardly. Contemptible. Vile. Underhanded. Despicable. Cowardly. These are all words I would use to describe Cratejoy.

    All in all, if you are considering it, DON'T. If I can help anyone see what I didn't beforehand, then this review will have not been in vain.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • They charge fees grouped in with shipping

    • By Jennifer,
    • Clermont, FL,
    • Mar 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would not have any issues with Cratejoy had they not added shipping into what they percentage-wise take. For example, if my crate is $25.99 and the person's shipping is $15.00 then they are taking a percentage off of $40.00. This to me is absolutely ridiculous because I do not get any money for shipping so why the hell should they?

    They are $39.99 starting per month, and they charge an average of 10-15% per transaction (which includes the price of shipping). Had they not screwed me concerning shipping added into the total percentage taken I would make more.

    In addition to this, quite a lot of spam is allowed in: can I have a free box? I am a blogger, blah blah blah. You would think that these fees would go to stop some of the spam I receive each and every day (it comes through like a customer inquiry). I hate Cratejoy and can't wait to kick them to the curb!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Great platform

    • By Shane,
    • Portland, OR,
    • Mar 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    Easy to use platform, cool team, really responsive staff. Do wish they had bulk changes for customer profiles (like bulk cancel or bulk re-bill date change).

    On the above, they do charge a recurring 10% fee that you acquire through their marketplace. I have margin to give them for getting me customers, so I think it's okay.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Charged twice, canceled, haven't received anything, no response.

    I ordered two boxes from Cratejoy. One came quickly with no problem, but the other (for $39.82) never came. I sent an inquiry to which I only received an auto response saying they were looking into the issue and that someone would get back to me soon.

    After two inquiries and no response, I sent a third inquiry/request to cancel my subscription, only receiving the auto-response.

    On December 31st, 2017, I received an email from Cratejoy telling me that my subscription would renew the following day (on January 1st, 2018). I sent yet another inquiry/request ticket demanding that they cancel my subscription before it renews and telling them that I never even received the first order for which they charged me.

    The following day, on January 1st, 2018, I received an email from Cratejoy telling me that my subscription had renewed and I was charged another $43.32 this time. I wrote them another inquiry/request ticket, telling them I wanted to be reimbursed for the two charges and that they there is proof that they have received all of my inquiry/request tickets, as there is a ticket number generated along with their auto-responses each time I have sent them.

    To this day, I have not heard from anyone, have not been reimbursed, and have not received any merchandise. They only sent me saying that my account was canceled, after charging me a total of $83.14, for nothing.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Best place to find subscription boxes

    • By Amanda,
    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Feb 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've purchased around 12 subscription boxes from Cratejoy, and while not everyone has been my favorite, I've found a few that are perfect for my husband and I and our two kids. We currently receive an Italian meat/cheese box, a kids book box, and a baking box, and they constantly deliver excellent products that we couldn't get anywhere else. My husband has tried a few of the alcohol boxes where they send you a few new cocktails every month. Those are great if you entertain frequently or are trying to become more knowledgeable about mixology.

    I don't know of anywhere else to find so many different types of subscriptions? The customer reviews on Cratejoy are helpful in making an informed decision, and sometimes I even take a chance on a brand new box with no reviews to test it out (the kids book box is a new one we're testing and seems good so far).

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend


  • Buyer beware

    • By Renee Malone,
    • Boca Raton, FL,
    • Feb 24, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    What looks like a fun way to browse subscription boxes is really what I consider to be a scam. What you have here is great online advertising. What you really get is crap boxes that are nowhere near worth the price that you are charged.

    The seller for the subscription that I tried once, has zero business knowledge, zero customer service, and zero sense of urgency. Stay away from Creative Mercantile Subscription, and be sure to take a look at the reviews before you order. I waited three weeks for my shipment, was lied to about when it was shipped, was given an excuse "we are very busy," and was mailed an envelope (no box) of clearance bin items that were below standard and for a child.

    I reached the seller and got her to give me a full refund. She then promised to send me the February 2018 box for free "for my trouble." Well folks, here it is February 22nd and no box! I've emailed the seller several times. She doesn't respond. Just an awful experience all the way around. Save your money. I don't trust Cratejoy now.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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