10 Things To Know Before Starting A Subscription Box
Subscription boxes have been around for a while, and have exponentially grown into a trending business as it is convenient and affordable for customers.
Especially being constrained to our homes during the pandemic, subscription boxes have become a way for consumers to brighten their frequent dull days.
This has compelled business owners around the globe to start a subscription box service to help grow their revenue.
Before you embark on this journey, there are a few things you should know before starting a subscription box.
1. DEFINE YOUR NICHE
View your niche as the unique theme of your box. Today there are thousands of monthly subscription boxes available. And there are also millions of eCommerce stores that could decide to start building a subscription box tomorrow.
To set your brand apart, it’s time to get clear on your niche.
Wanting to start a skincare subscription box is not precise enough. You'll have to get even more niche to interest and attract the right customers.
2. ESTABLISH TOTAL COSTS
After you have nailed the concept for your subscription box, it’s time to determine what will be in your box and how you can afford it.
Some of the big considerations people overlook about when they start their subscription box include:
- product cost range
- box cost
- packing material cost
- fulfillment cost
- shipping cost (actual shipping + print machine + paper)
- software fees (website, payment processor, email, shipping platform)
- marketing/customer acquisition (paid ads)
- professional photography
3. BUILD A PROTOTYPE BOX
Marketing requires a prototype subscription box, and you require marketing (photos, videos) to get customers.
The first thing you want to do is put together a sample of your subscription box.
The best thing to do that is to build it out according to the budget you establish for your monthly boxes so that customers will get the quality they expect when they pre-order the first one.
4. KNOW CLIENT'S EXPECTATIONS
In order to deliver proper value and get customers engaged into your sales' funnel, they must KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you.
How do you get them to KNOW you? Marketing.
How do you get them to LIKE you? Address a problem they have.
How do you get them to TRUST you? Solve a problem they have.
5. YOUR BUSINESS IS A BUSINESS
Keep in mind that you are a traditional business. As such, you should comply to the regular business steps like having a business plan and setting it up legally.
Following a business plan's traditional steps will allow you to best understand your big 3 Cs: company, customers, and competitors.
The steps to follow can vary based on your products, sourcing methods, niche, customer profiles, and so much more.
6. VISUALS ARE ESSENTIALS
Your product's photographies and videos will be the main advocate for your brand's quality and value since your customers are not able to hold the box or look at it before they buy from you.
In this specific case, images speak louder than words. So make sure yours are on point.
And if you're not any good at products' photography I highly recommend that you hire a professional photographer: IT IS WORTH IT, especially in the beginning when you just launch!
Those images will serve you for many purposes including your website, social media, PR articles, emails and so on.
Remember that the final design of your subscription box should match your customers.
7. SMART SOFTWARE SAVE YOU
There are plenty of e-commerce options that can do much of the heavy lifting for you.
Here are the top things you shall consider when setting up your subscription box business:
- billing platform (BE AWARE: not all platforms offer recurring payment billing options)
- website (compatible with billing platform of course)
- marketplace listing (if there is any in the country in which you sell)
- CRM (customer relationship management)
- customer support tools (Email platform)
- professional email address (avoid the @gmail.com and other free unprofessional ones)
8. TRIGGER COMMUNITY GROWTH
Building a community is a terrific way to grow. After you launch, you’re going to have people asking questions and sharing products and images and more.
Your happy customers will be your most fervent supporters, so you should always strive to reward them for their loyalty!
Also, to assist potential clients best, have more than just an FAQ page. Try your hand at forums, youtube unboxing videos, or even blog posts with comments. Those networks will help you reach out, collect feedback, and improve your operations tremendously.
9. DOUBLE DOWN ON BRANDING
Not only is the Internet forever, but so is the first impression you will have on your potential new customers.
In terms of branding, go for something that speaks to your passion and isn’t limited to a specific product.
You’re creating a brand that’s more than just the product in next month’s subscription box. Find a name that suits you without limiting you.
A word of warning: you want something that will work even in three years from now. Not only should it be something that will still be relevant, but also it should be something that you’re interested in for years to come.
10. FAILURE IS PART OF THE PROCESS
This is probably the most important aspect of it all. If we new 100% of how to manage a business, all of us would be billionaires by now, right?
So you must take it one step at a time, be patient (that's another big one!), and gentle with yourself because - like in every business - problems WILL arise. It is not a matter of IF but more of WHEN.
Remember that the outcome does not depend on how big or bad a problem is but more so on how well you're tackling it and learning from it.
I suggest you keep a Playbook, a document with all the problems you ever encountered and how you solved them. It is literally going to be your life saver, since the next time, you'll just go to your Playbook and solve it easy peasy.
Now it's your turn! Are you ready??