How to Start a Subscription Box Business

by
June 10, 2019

Chapter One: Starting A Subscription Box Business

Chapter Two: Launching Your Subscription Box

Chapter Three: Creating An Unboxing Experience

Chapter Four: Shipping Your Subscription Box Orders

Chapter Five: Growing Your Subscription Box Service

This guide is in collaboration with Bold Commerce, Arka, and Noissue.

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Chapter 1: Starting a Subscription Box Business

The subscription box model is booming in the world of online retail. And this is only the beginning. Online sellers are slowly moving away from the traditional single-sale transaction towards the recurring revenue model.

What is a Subscription Box?

A subscription box is a recurring delivery of products, packaged together and sent right to your customer’s doorstep. Instead of a one-time purchase, customers agree to automated online payments for the duration of their subscription.

Subscription boxes are typically tied to a theme or niche, so the products inside are all related. Examples of successful subscription boxes include Birchbox (beauty products), Puravida (bracelets), and Loot Crate (geek and gamer gear.)

Types of Subscription Boxes

Ecommerce subscriptions are made up of three categories: curation, replenishment, and access.

Curation subscriptions provide customers with a surprised, curated box that is personalized based on consumer decision making. A replenishment subscription automates the purchase of frequently replaced items such as razors or vitamins. And lastly, access subscriptions offer subscribers a “VIP” pass to exclusive membership perks through a monthly recurring fee. Curation totals to 55% of all subscription services, making it the most popular category. With replenishment at 32 percent and access subscriptions accounting for 13 percent.

Why Should I Offer Subscription Boxes?

From a consumer perspective, subscription boxes are an efficient way to receive a recurring, delightful surprise. Everything from groceries, take-out food, and everyday products can now be delivered right to one’s door. The massive success of these ventures shows how valuable these services are in a busy world where time really does equal money.

While definitely not a new concept, subscriptions have gained traction in the last few years. In fact, the subscription ecommerce market has grown by more than 100% percent a year over the past five years. From a business perspective, this new shopping trend could potentially provide a number of benefits for your company.

Pros

Establish a Brand Identity

In today’s landscape, brand personalization is becoming the new norm for marketing. In other words, customers are looking for indicators that you are willing to go the extra mile for them. Starting a subscription service provides the opportunity to heighten your competitive appeal by offering a customizable brand experience for consumers.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

One of the toughest aspects of managing an online store is trying to get sales rolling in month after month, especially during the slower seasons. Subscription boxes offer a steady stream of profit, even if one-time sales are lacking. When subscribers sign up to receive their goods on a biweekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, you are guaranteed a consistent source of revenue.

Greater Predictability

Planning for your company’s future is easier with foreseeable revenue from subscriptions, which allows you to allocate your expenses and revenue accordingly. Unlike other ecommerce models, customers don’t have to be continually brought back. Instead, they’re prepared to purchase from you every month. The steady income allows you to budget for expected costs, predict orders, and control inventory.

Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

Customer lifetime value can be defined as the average amount of money a person will spend with your business during the entire customer-business relationship. Acquiring long-term customers, rather than a one-time sale, is useful for future-proofing your business. And as an added bonus, you’re building brand equity too. Increasing your customer lifetime value can make your customer relationship last for years to come.

Cons

Sustaining Value

Keeping up your product and package novelty is the ultimate challenge of the subscription box model. You want to ensure you can consistently deliver an exciting, attractive experience time and time again. The durability of the packaging and generic print no longer cut it as effective brand marketing.

Competition

This business model is growing in popularity as we speak. With more ecommerce merchants swiftly adopting this model, it’s rapidly becoming a highly saturated market. To avoid getting lost in the noise, clearly define your niche in order to establish yourself within your industry. If there’s a community supporting your product, odds are you can successfully build a subscription box around it.

Stagnation

If you don’t maintain the quality of your product, your subscription box will quickly lose its novelty. Even the most loyal subscribers will be quick to cancel their subscription if they don’t love the product they receive. With all of this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to implement a subscription box into your ecommerce business.

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Chapter 2: Launching your Subscription Box

Your Subscription Box Idea

It’s time to think about what you want to sell. And we’re not just talking products. What’s your golden ticket idea for your subscription box?

Your idea is what attracts your customers. Think about the popular subscription box, Fabfitfun. One look at their website and you can quickly identify their niche centered around exercise, lifestyle, and beauty items that appeal mostly to women.

When coming up with your own subscription box idea, look to your own passions and interests to gather inspiration. Make sure to distinguish yourself. What makes you different from everyone else? Your business approach? Quirky designs? Charitable donations? Make sure your unique offer is front and center.

When beginning a subscription box service, it is important to research your ideal market and customer persona. Identifying your ideal customer is the first step in building a successful business. Your subscription box is not going to appeal to the masses (and that’s okay), but it’s definitely going to pique interest from a particular group of people who can relate to your idea.

Identifying your Target Audience

Your Niche

A niche relates to specific products, services, and interests. Different niches could include beauty, clothing, hygiene, fitness, technology, food, etc. It’s important to define your market as clearly as possible. Break down your niche into more specific categories such as natural skincare, socks, men’s razors, yoga, cell-phone accessories, and international snacks. The more specialized you are, the more efficient you will be at tailoring your subscription box to your unique audience.

Take a look at competitors within your niche and make a note of the price, packaging, and the products they are including within their box. In order to create demand for your subscription box, you must differentiate yourself from the competition.

Your Customer

Spend time analyzing your potential customer. What is their income class? What is their average age? Where do they live? What is their preferred social media platform? In general, those who subscribe tend to be younger people (between the ages of 25 and 44) with a median income of $50,000-$100,000 annually.

Research and gather as much information as possible to create buyer personas. Buyer personas represent your ideal customer and offer insight on buying behaviors. They help you determine where and when to market to these customers, what products to include in their subscription box, what upsell offers are most tempting, and so on.

Selecting your Products

Consider your subscription model (replenishment, curation, access) and identify which products will resonate most with your target audience. Once you understand your niche, you will have a better idea of how to fulfill your customer’s expectations of your box. At the core of your business is your value. Your products should highlight your value proposition or the promise of value that will be delivered.  

The next variable to keep in mind is the visual aesthetics of your brand. A large part of the unboxing experience is the look and feel of your box. Does it appear full? Does it offer variety? Does the product assembling appear worth the cost? Effectively choosing products requires attention to the visual appearance of your box.

Logistics

So you have your idea and the products you want to include. Now, how are you going to offer your subscription box to your audience?

The Classic Weekly, Bi-weekly, and Monthly Subscription Boxes

The classic boxes are the most common and what you typically think of when you think of a subscription box. Customers will receive the products you’ve chosen to include in the box at a specified interval. You’re able to set a delivery frequency, so whenever a customer’s card is charged, you automatically send out a delivery.

An interesting twist on the classic subscription box is the Mystery Box when the box is sent out to customers before they know what they’re going to receive. This is great for customers who enjoy the thrill of surprise and makes unboxing an entirely different experience.

Prepaid Subscription Boxes

Prepaid subscription boxes allow your customers to pay for a few months delivery upfront, usually at a discount. The benefit in doing so allows customers to get a slight discount for paying ahead of time, and you have the assurance that they won’t cancel during that time.Another great way to offer prepaid subscription boxes is allowing customers to buy boxes as gifts. Customers can choose to pre-pay for subscription boxes for a specific duration of time and send it to family or friends to enjoy. This is especially popular around the holiday season.

Build-a-Box

Build-a-box subscriptions allow your customers to pick and choose what they would like in their box from a predetermined list of items. You have the control to set how many items have to be chosen before the customer can move on to checkout, and customers get to decide which products they want to receive.

Build-a-box subscriptions can be used for a wide variety of products but are very popular among food companies, especially those offering meal plans.

Pricing

Next up, it’s time to decide your pricing model. Consider the average cost of your products, packing materials, and shipping fees to get a good look at what the box will cost to create and ship out. Considering you need additional revenue to survive, add a margin to this amount to ensure you are generating profit.

Considerations when pricing your box:

  • Payment processing fees
  • Overall business cost
  • Transaction fees
  • Advertising and marketing costs
  • Fulfillment costs
  • Packing material
  • Box design

Many subscription boxes offer a large number of products at a cheaper rate than the products are worth. How do they do it? They source their products from companies who offer wholesale prices in exchange for their long-term business. Figuring out the cheapest way to ship your subscription box will allow you to pinpoint a price that resonates with your customers while being profitable for your business.

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Chapter 3: Creating An Unboxing Experience

‘Unboxing’ is a concept that is discussed a lot in relation to packaging and product presentation. But it is far more than an online fad. In fact, it’s a sophisticated marketing approach that highlights how many of today’s consumers are seeking a much more curated experience with the brands they love. In this sense, subscription boxes and unboxings go hand in hand. Subscription boxes are about discovery and personalization. They offer customers a hand-picked selection of products related to an interest or product category.

At its heart, unboxing is about enhancing the anticipation and memorability of a customer’s purchase. In summation, channeling the unboxing trend is a powerful strategy for both attracting and retaining customers.

What are the Benefits?

Compelling product packaging affects consumer’s brand perception, with 72% of consumers agreeing that packaging design can influence their purchasing decision. It creates a sense of special treatment and contributes to the feeling that a purchase was worth the cost. This helps to eliminate buyer’s remorse and adds more value to your brand. Above all, custom packaging shows that you have gone the extra mile to make customers feel special.

Creating a Strong Brand Image

When venturing into branded packaging, you have a lot of choices to make. First things first: what is your brand identity and voice? Your brand identity encompasses your business’s mission and what you want your customers to know about you. Once you define this, you can better understand the type of logo and color schemes that work best for your business. Your brand voice is ultimately how you portray yourself to customers.

Custom packaging plays a powerful role in creating a recognizable brand. You want to craft a design that resonates with your brand image and is unique to your business. What makes your products distinctive? What are the core values of your brand? These questions will help you to zone in on the design elements that best represent your industry niche.C

If you don’t already have a logo in place, you can work with a branding agency or freelance graphic designer to help craft your brand. Most agencies want to help you build more than a logo, but create a brand identity system. Connect with local graphic designers through resources like Dribbble to work with a creative that can work well within your budget. Find inspiration for creative decisions for your business.

Creating Custom Boxes

Though you can buy stock boxes in bulk and at low prices, you may quickly realize that customers are looking for that extra “pizzazz” in their unboxing experience.

Selecting a Type of Box

With the subscription box model, you’re shipping all the time. Because of your frequency, be sure your packaging is efficient and cost-effective. There are two main choices for this: the shipper and the mailer.

The Shipper Box – A great choice for heavier items or stacks of items such as appliances, clothing, kitchenware, etc.

The Mailer Box – A great choice for small ecommerce products such as skincare, clothing, food, etc.

In the realm of subscription boxes, the most popular choice is the mailer box. FedEx and UPS use dimensional pricing to determine shipping costs, so the smaller the box you ship with, the more economical it will be. This calculator can help you view shipping rates, so you can best optimize your box dimensions.

Choosing a Printing Method

Quantity plays a major role when selecting your printing method. The higher the quantity, the lower the cost per box. The number of boxes you need to print will determine whether you want to use digital printing methods or alternatives, such as flexographic or lithographic. Each of these printing options progress in overall expense.

Digitally Printed Boxes

The latest printing method on the market is digital printing, which prints on a giant inkjet printer. Its speed allows you to test out multiple box designs efficiently. This is the most economical option.

Flexographic Printed Boxes

If you’re looking to print larger quantities, look into the flexographic (flexo) method. Flexo prints faster than digital printing while still maintaining its consistent quality. This printing method is ideal for large subscription box companies that need a high quantity of the same designed branded boxes.

Lithographically Printed Boxes

This is an alternative option for high quantity orders. Lithographic is the most costly option since it is the highest quality printing method. This method prints labels that are glued onto a finished piece of cardboard.

Designing Custom Packaging Supplies

Packing material plays a significant role in the unboxing experience and can add to the customer’s enjoyment when opening. There is a range of packing options to select from that can be customized, by color or printing, to your specific box. From tissue paper, stickers, tape, ribbon, to protective cushioning -there is a range of inserts to choose from when assembling your box.

Tissue Paper – Custom tissue paper is a great option for subscription boxes, because it has many different applications. It can be used to line your box, add some flair, and wrap up your items for a premium touch. Aside from the outside of your box, it’s the best element to print some larger-scale designs on because they can be easily seen.  

Stickers – Stickers can be used on the outside of your box as a nice visual feature, or to help seal together packaging materials on the inside. This is a really good place to put key brand information such as your social media handles or website.

Washi Tape – Washi tape makes for great interior and exterior decoration, because it has a lot of creative applications in terms of placement. You can customise it with your brand name, a slogan or any important motifs or patterns.

Brand your business by considering these additional packing items:

• Handwritten notes to express your appreciation

• Personalized Thank You cards

• The story of your company and your products

• Stories of how others have used your items

Choosing a Sustainable Design

Subscription boxes can be responsible for a lot of packaging waste. Among consumers, there are growing concerns about the environmental impact of their purchasing habits. In recent years, this has started to dictate decision-making. A study by Cone Communications found that almost 90% of consumers have a favorable brand image of those who support environmental issues. Packaging has become a major criterion for judging environmental responsibility because it represents a tangible commitment to lowering the impact of your operations. Environmentally-conscious alternatives can provide an added edge over the competition while also reducing waste.

According to a study by Shorr, only 11% of customers are happy with ecommerce packaging. Among their key concerns is packaging that is excessive and/or not recyclable. Sustainable packaging comes down to one key principle—minimizing the use of non-renewable materials and maximizing the use of sustainable alternatives. In doing so, your subscription box is making a credible eco-friendly commitment that is likely to keep your customers happy.

Consider the following practices for package sustainability:

  • Avoid plastic wrap, confetti, and cellophane in favor of paper-based decorations
  • Use renewable soy-based inks for printing over petroleum-based inks
  • Use recycled or FSC-certified paper and cardboard for flyers and other packaging inserts
  • Use smaller boxes to minimize the need for filler. This also helps your box to look fuller

The Cost of Custom Packaging

The cost of custom packing is not limited to printing costs but also includes packaging material. Naturally, a lot of your custom packaging experience will rest on cost. If you are new to the subscription box model, you might be quite constrained in this area to begin with. Order quantities can prove one of the biggest headaches, as it’s common for custom packaging suppliers to do minimum runs of 500+. However, you can make this work to your advantage. From a financial perspective, larger orders generally work out to be cheaper than smaller orders.

Subscription boxes generally need large quantities of packaging material. Depending on the size of the box you send out, and how often, you may need to have a pretty sizeable stock at your disposal. Your supplier’s turnaround time is also an important consideration. Longer turnarounds will make bulk orders a better option that is likely to fit better with your subscription cycle.

If you’re on a smaller budget, you may want to focus on scaling up your custom packaging over time. Elements like custom stickers and packaging tape are a low upfront investment and still give your subscription box an edge. If your brand has a particular color scheme, you can integrate this into your design. Sourcing your key colors in regular tissue paper, for example, reduces costs while still keeping your box on-brand.

Custom packaging can seem like an intimidating prospect to businesses because it brings with it a lot of considerations—minimum order quantities, budgets, and design decisions, just to name a few. But the packaging is inevitably a major part of your subscription box service. At the bare minimum, you need to ensure that you can protect and ship your products efficiently. This makes it one of your biggest upfront costs, so getting maximum value out of your design is important. Since your packaging is part and parcel (pun intended) of your marketing strategy, it’s well worth putting your resources into this area.

Creating a Prototype Box

Now, the fun part–seeing your ideas come to life! Building a prototype box allows you to play around to determine exactly how you’re going to package your products.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How many items will be in the box each month? Or, what monetary value will these items add up to?
  • What type of packing material will you use? For this one, think about the types of products you’re delivering. If any of them are heavy, breakable, or could spill, you want to make sure you have some good padding in place.
  • What kind of external packaging do you want to use?
  • Are you going to include inserts to explain products or simply to thank customers for choosing you?
  • What does your branding look like?

Putting together a prototype box will create marketable material, giving prospective customers a good look into what to expect from your business. Ask yourself: is this a subscription box I would want to personally receive every month?

Once you’ve put together your prototype box, it’s time to snap a picture to share your hard work. If you’re brand new to subscription boxes, this will be the prospective client’s first impression of your business. Use your prototype box to begin marketing your business and products on your website and social platforms.

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Chapter 4: Shipping Your Subscription Box Orders

Shipping subscription boxes take some preparation. Sure, they’ll usually all weigh roughly the same and packing items is a consistent, similar process. But with this consistency comes a couple of caveats. Subscription boxes tend to ship on a specific schedule. Establishing a unified, efficient shipping process saves you time and money.

Another component of subscription boxes that needs a little research is determining the shipping method and package types for your shipments.

Finding The Best Shipping Method

Low shipping costs are key for your subscription businesses. The best shipping service may not be black-and-white. Just because the contents of your subscription box are the same doesn’t mean the same option will be best for every order. Finding the cheapest way to ship your subscription box will protect your bottom line, create savings for your customers, and give you more discounts the more you ship.

Envelopes

If your subscription box model revolves around shipping small and non-fragile items such as enamel pins or t shirts, it’s usually counter-productive to ship with a mailer box. That said, there are a few options for sending these items.

First Class Mail Thick Envelope – First Class Mail Thick Envelope may be an envelope, but it is charged the same rate as a package of the same dimensions. The advantage of this is that it includes tracking. Services like Large Envelope, though, will not include tracking.

Poly Mailers offer a great way to customize your packaging for cheap. They’re already a cost-effective packaging material, and the added bonus of discounted branding only elevates the experience. Even industry-standards like Amazon use it.

First Class vs Priority Mail Package

First Class Mail If you can somehow keep your subscription boxes under 16oz, USPS First Class is the most economical way to ship. Drawbacks to this service are that First Class Mail has no default insurance from the USPS. Additionally, the longer transit time can be a big detractor for time-sensitive or perishable items.  

Priority Mail Package – If your subscription boxes weighs between 1-10 lbs, USPS Priority Mail package typically offers a competitive rate advantage. Particularly if your parcels are within USPS Zone 1-5 from your warehouse.

Priority Mail Package doesn’t offer the complimentary packaging that Flat Rate services do, so this frees you up to brand your packaging in a unique way. While this is a good option for lighter parcels, flat rate options become more advantageous the heavier your package is.

First Class vs Priority Mail Package

Flat Rate Boxes are a streamlined option since no matter where you ship in the continental US, the price is the same. No matter how much you cram into it, the price is the same (up to 70 lbs). USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are broken into sizes: Small, Medium, and Large boxes.  Their rates range from $7.50-$20.00.

Regional Rate Boxes

Admittedly, you won’t likely be shipping a subscription box that’s 70 lbs unless you’re a bagged concrete of the month club. Luckily, there’s another option. Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes function similarly to Flat Rate packaging but have a lower max weight. Rate A Boxes have a limit of 15 lbs. And Rate B Boxes have a limit of 20 lbs.

These services offer low rates for parcels in the nearer USPS zones. Once you start reaching the upper USPS zones, though, they stop losing their discounted advantages over Priority Flat Rate options. 

Hybrid Services

Shipping with FedEx and UPS costs more, but with a high enough volume, you can start taking advantage of more discounted rates. These are also very reliable carriers. Advantages to these more premium carriers is that you have access to more express services. For instance, ShipStation offers discounted FedEx rates through the FedEx Advantage Program.

But, a big advantage to using FedEx and UPS is being able to access hybrid services. These are discounted services where FedEx and UPS pick up the parcels, but USPS makes final delivery. Advantages of this are that you can use FedEx and UPS to deliver to mailboxes and P.O boxes. It also allows you to increase your volume with the carrier to take advantage of more volume-based discounted shipping rates.

Common hybrid services are:

FedEx SmartPost – A contract-based service that combines FedEx Ground with USPS.

UPS Mail Innovations – A contract-based service that combines UPS Ground with USPS. Works best for small parcels under 1lb.

UPS SurePost – An economical combination of UPS Ground and USPS services, typically for larger parcels weighing up to 20lbs.

Shipping Software

Getting your boxes out the door doesn’t have to be a time-consuming ordeal. Finding the best shipping software for your business will help cut down on manual labor and can really expedite the fulfillment process. Features to keep an eye out for are automation rules, batching, and branding options.

Automation Rules

Automation rules help you automatically manage orders and reduce the time it takes to create labels. The way automation rules work is that, when orders import, specific criteria determine certain actions to be applied to an order.

Automation Rules Based on Zones

Certain services or package types work best depending on the recipient zone. Basing automation rules and/or delivery options on the carrier’s zone can be a way to streamline the process. Reference your carriers’ zone charts to quickly establish delivery time and cost. This saves a lot of time compared to shipping based on destination postal code or state.

Batching

Batching is when you bulk print multiple shipping labels at once. This is a massive time-saver, particularly when shipping subscription boxes that all contain the same items. Simply pick the items and place them in the appropriate boxes. Select the desired orders in a particular view and add to a batch. Then create the labels.

Shipping software offers far more benefits than these, for a full list of the benefits of a shipping software can offer, check out ShipStation’s Guide to finding the best shipping software. We discuss everything: carrier & selling channel integrations, different workflows, discounts, pricing, printing, scalability, and more

Branding

Subscription boxes offer a great opportunity for branding. There is a lot that you can do to grow and establish your brand’s presence during the shipping process.

Branded Documents

Confirmation emails and packing slips are a fantastic way to incorporate branding into the shipping process. The more distinctive these customer documents are, the more established your brand appears. Your customers don’t see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to get a shipment to them. The most a customer usually sees of this process is the carrier delivery driver. Because of this, steer clear of default templates. Make your customer communications pop and offer unique, original design. Attention to detail in these aspects of branding encourages your customers to have confidence in the delivery process.

Branded Tracking Page

Features like ShipStation’s Branded Tracking Page allow your customers to engage with your brand while their package is delivered. Incorporate your brand’s distinctive colors, logos, and social accounts into a convenient shipment tracker that includes a delivery map that updates in real-time.

Shipping Labels and Return Labels

Additional items to brand include shipping labels and return labels. Some carriers, such as USPS, FedEx, DHL Express, and UPS will allow you to print your logo onto your outbound and return shipping labels.

While USPS will offer the cheapest rates for most return labels, it is worth noting that USPS return labels are typically charged upon creation, which means the label fees will be charged to your account regardless of whether you use the label. 

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Chapter 5: Growing Your Subscription Box Services

As a business model, subscription-based services are more reliant on customer retention than most ecommerce vendors. Success means having a sizeable number of returning customers each month, allowing you to cut high-value deals with suppliers. To achieve this, you need to foster brand loyalty. This means cultivating a brand image and experience with your subscription box that’s inviting.

Scaling Your Subscription Box

You’ve seen your subscription box through from idea generation to prototype box. Now, you’re ready to market and grow your subscription model. While you can get a few sales from close family and friends, the truth is that no one knows about your amazing subscription box… yet.

Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to scale. These are tried and true methods subscription business owners can use to gain momentum.

Increasing your Value

One of the greatest traits you can adopt as a subscription business owner is flexibility. No one likes the feeling of entering into a long contract when signing up for a subscription box. But discounts, along with flexible options, are a great way to make shoppers feel more comfortable with the sign-up process.

With convertible subscriptions, customers are able to test out your products by receiving sample-sized products on the first delivery, then automatically converting to standard-sized after the first order. This is a great way for customers to test the waters before they fully commit.

You can also use convertible subscriptions to offer a valuable bonus item that complements your subscription products. Let’s say you own a coffee subscription box. The first order a customer places comes with a free coffee maker, with every following order including a bonus bag of coffee. Now that your customer has received their coffee maker and a free bag of coffee, it makes sense for them to continue purchasing your product.

Discounting is one of the most widely used scaling methods, and for good reason–it works! While the last thing you want to do is to lose money on an order, discounting actually works in your favor in the long run, especially during the most impactful moments in the user journey.

Shoppers love a deal, and what better way to convince them to choose a subscription than the prospect of saving money?

Offer deeper discounts on longer subscription periods to entice customers to subscribe for a year rather than a month. Or, using dynamic discounting methods, you can offer discounts at strategic pain points in the user journey. For example, you can offer a discount on the first order to drive more sign-ups and again after 4 months at a time when many users consider cancelling their subscriptions.

Let customers know that they can cancel anytime—just make the boxes so valuable that they won’t want to.

Leverage Reviews

97% of people say that reviews influence their decisions, and potential customers find shoppers’ reviews more trustworthy than the company’s message. That means almost every single consumer looks at reviews before buying something online. That’s a lot of purchasing power!

Reviews are important for individual purchases, but they are even more important when signing up for subscription boxes.

You can install an app to have reviews live right on your online store—on the home page, product pages, or even on your upsells. But reviews will live outside your store as well, such as on independent blogs, social media,  and forums.

It’s best to be on top of searching for your reviews—the way you react and engage with these reviews can make the difference between retaining or losing a customer. We’ve seen companies respond quickly and sympathetically to unhappy customers, ultimately winning them back.

Get Social

According to Hitwise, social media is one of the biggest drivers of traffic to subscription box sites. The emphasis on visuals in social media makes it the perfect fit for promoting subscription boxes. Excellent product presentation plays a central role in the appeal of both the box and its contents on social media platforms.

According to Dotcom Distribution, 40% of consumers would be more likely to share product images on social media if they came in custom-branded packaging.

Branded packaging is also a way to recruit social media advocates. Asking customers to “share your order and tag us” is an effective way to boost brand awareness. If you offer your customers a ‘share worthy’ experience, you are setting up your subscription box for some serious social exposure. This can elevate your marketing game to a whole new level.

Overall, social media is an easy way to foster relationships with your customers through consistent communication and content. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.

But, engaging on social media requires more than just throwing some content on your Instagram account. You need a strategy that utilizes the best channels to gain popularity.

Facebook has the largest number of users in a wide variety of ages and is usually a go-to for online brands. But, if your target audience is a young demographic, they’ll likely be on Instagram. In fact, 53% of teens say that Instagram is the best place to find out about new products.

A great social strategy is user-generated content or any content created by customers rather than a brand itself. UGC allows customers to share their favorite images with your products. By creating a unique hashtag, you can promote and organize all of the shared images you receive towards your business. This encourages customers to engage and discuss your brand on social.

Final Thoughts

Subscription businesses are booming, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to starting your own. Launching a subscription box requires careful thought and planning but can be extremely profitable once you have the right details in place.

Some key ingredients to starting a subscription box:

  • Choose your subscription type
  • Identify your niche and target audience
  • Select your products
  • Design your box
  • Customize your packaging
  • Ship your product at the most affordable cost   

Rally a community around your business by starting your own subscription box. We hope this guide offers you understanding and guidance on how to implement the subscription business model.

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