Consumers value convenience, reliability, and personalization from their online shopping experience. It’s no surprise that the global subscription economy has taken off in recent years.
The Rise of the Subscription Box Model
The subscription market grew by more than 100% every year from 2011 to 2016 and reached a value of $22.7 billion in 2021. Experts expect that growth to continue in coming years, almost tripling to a predicted value of $65 billion by 2027.
Whether you already have an online shop or you’re starting a new business from scratch, the subscription box model can be a great way to attract and retain customers in a scalable way. But how should you go about starting your subscription business? Here are 5 steps to follow when starting a subscription box and a few tips to keep in mind to help you create a successful subscription box business.
5 Steps to Build Your Subscription Box Business
1. Define the purpose of your subscription box
From tea and snack deliveries to candles and treats for your dog, you can find a subscription box for just about anything. That’s why it’s critical that you carefully consider your market niche.
In this stage, you’ll need to answer key questions to create your subscription box business model. What customer needs will your box fulfill? Is there a gap in the current market that your subscription box can occupy? Does a similar box already exist? If so, how is yours differentiated? You also need to determine how often your boxes will be delivered, and whether you will offer multiple subscription levels or not.
It’s also important to consider who your target customer is and how you will reach them. Taking the time to carefully define your subscription box product and target audience will help ensure that you build a subscription business that’s sustainable, scalable, and marketable.
2. Create a subscription box pricing strategy
When you start a subscription box, pricing your box is a key aspect of your strategy. It’s important to set a price that both covers your costs and is acceptable to your customers. While costs will vary depending on your industry and box items, some potential costs to consider include the cost of the products in the box, packaging and shipping prices, fulfillment expenses, and order platform fees.
While you need to cover your costs and make a profit, it’s important to set a price that aligns with the customer’s perceived value of the box. People are generally willing to pay more for the convenience and personalization of subscription services, but it’s important to set a price that ensures a profit while allowing you to remain competitive.
3. Design a memorable customer experience
When it comes to subscription boxes, customer experience is perhaps the most important business driver. Box packaging plays a key role in the customer experience, so you’ll want to design packaging that aligns with your brand and gets your customers excited to open the box. Consider using custom boxes that are branded with your company’s logo, keeping the products in place with innovative fillers, and using creative packing materials to fill in extra space.
When designing your packaging, think about the unboxing experience from your customer’s perspective. How do you want them to feel when they open the box? What emotions do you want your packaging to evoke? Packaging decisions that support your business’s branding and purpose can go a long way in making sure your subscription boxes are memorable and representative of your business.
4. Determine the best subscription box fulfillment option
Once you’ve brainstormed subscription ideas, created a pricing strategy, and considered the customer experience, it’s time to get your subscription box into the hands of your customers. Partnering with a fulfillment company that has an established supply chain and packaging infrastructure can help streamline the delivery process and reduce costs.
When choosing a fulfillment company, consider which tasks you’ll be able to handle in-house and what you’ll need to outsource. Selecting the right fulfillment company can give you the time and flexibility to focus on other aspects of your subscription box, such as selecting products and marketing to potential customers.
5. Get the word out about your subscription box
With the rise of influencer marketing through platforms like Instagram and TikTok, marketing your subscription box to your target audience is more accessible than ever. If you already have influencers or brand advocates that you work with on social media, consider using that program to spread the word about your subscription box.
If you’re new to influencer marketing, try to identify social media influencers whose niche aligns with your brand. Send them a sample subscription box to try so they can share the box with their follower or consider paying them to create posts about your box.
While social media is a good way to get your subscription box in front of thousands of potential customers at once, there are other things you can do to market your subscription. If you already operate an ecommerce store, leverage your email list of past customers to get the word out about your new subscription offering. Consider establishing a referral program to incentivize current customers to share your box with family and friends.
Tips on Creating a Successful Subscription Box
When you launch your subscription box, consider the tactics you can use to help drive sales and spread brand awareness. Free trials and new sign-up offers can drive customer acquisition, while automatic renewal and discounts for long-term subscriptions can help you retain customers and build loyalty.
No matter what type of subscription box you offer, it’s important to design an end-to-end customer experience that’s accessible and convenient to keep customers coming back and reduce the churn commonly associated with subscriptions. Consider creating a subscription management portal and website where customers can modify their subscription, view past boxes, and make changes to their product selections. A seamless customer experience helps ensure that people have memorable and positive interactions with your subscription box, keeping them coming back for years to come.