If you’ve got a Pinterest account, more than one follower on Instagram or a savvy teen who keeps getting gorgeous monthly packages in the mail, no doubt you’ve heard of subscription boxes—and you’re probably not going to be surprised to learn just how lucrative these specialized mailing services can be.
The subscription box business model has become the darling of entrepreneurs in the past few years, especially since they might mean that business owners won’t have to pay sky-high rents on brick-and-mortar shops. This relatively new way of doing business can result in substantially lower overhead and a potentially much larger profit margin than more traditional business models have. Maybe you’ve even considered starting a subscription box business for your home business or your existing company. It may seem like all fun and games (not to mention “likes” and “retweets”), but there are many things to keep in mind before starting your own subscription-based business. Let’s talk about some of the different aspects of subscription services, including what items work best and the importance of the actual custom boxes the products arrive in.
What Is a Subscription Box?
Subscription boxes burst onto the retail scene in recent years and have been growing in popularity since. While brick-and-mortar stores can use them, subscription boxes are particularly advantageous for online-only retail stores. These trendy boxes are physical packages delivered directly to customers regularly — generally as part of a recurring membership plan.
As for what’s inside the box — well, that’s up to you. Popular subscription box styles include:
- Surprise style: Surprise your customers with an unexpected assortment — the mystery is part of the fun.
- Curated collections: Assemble a cohesive array of products to form an aesthetically pleasing experience.
- Big savings: Gather a collection of products at a reduced price so that subscribers can save money with their monthly haul.
When to Ship It
Many businesses choose to send out monthly subscription boxes, but this is not the only option to consider. You might want to send them out as often as weekly, every other month or even every six months. The timing will depend on your product, business model and customer preferences. Just be sure to communicate your schedule clearly and stick to a regular timeframe, as your customers will expect consistency.
What to Ship
One of the most common comments we hear: “I’ve seen them on social media, I think they might work for my business, but exactly how do subscription boxes work?” Basically, subscription boxes can either be an entire business themselves, or they can serve as a wonderful incentive for customers who want to try many different products before committing to the one that works best for them. Popular items include things like:
- “X” of the month subscriptions
- samples of more expensive beauty products
- seasonal houseplants, flower arrangements or wreaths
- surprise boxes that include something like a perfect date night!
Subscription boxes work well for small businesses wanting to get their names out there, or for larger, more high-end companies that offer products many people can’t afford a “full size” of. They’re also a great way for out-of-state customers to get something close to an “in-store” experience—except this time, the store comes to them!
How to Ship It
One of the most important subscription box business tips? Just because you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store doesn’t mean you don’t have a storefront. It just becomes the box itself! Since customers aren’t coming to your store to pick up their items, the box may be their first interaction with your company. What impression sounds better to you? A weather-beaten, nondescript brown box that they guess might be their subscription package, or a branded, glossy and even personalized box in bright colors that they want to document on social media and share with all their friends? Yeah, we thought so.
Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the “real estate” offered by the boxes themselves—we’ve seen companies print instructions on the inner lid, include confetti inside or even allow the box to be a part of the package (we love the idea of folding a box into a flower pot for plant subscriptions.)
Subscription boxes are a fun, social-media friendly way to keep your company’s name in the heads of your customers—and they certainly save you on the majority of costs commonly associated with running a business. Before you commit to running a subscription service of your own, ask yourself the following:
- Are your items something that can be easily shipped?
- Are you ready to consistently prepare and ship boxes every month, quarter or whatever shipping schedule you decide on?
- What image and message do you want to convey to your customers with your box?
Think your business has what it takes to be the next booming success in the subscription box industry? Then by all means, let’s chat!
Why Customize Your Subscription Boxes?
It’s easy to presume that what’s on the inside matters most. While the quality of your products is crucial, sticking with standard packaging means you’ll miss out on some of the most valuable benefits of a subscription box system. The benefits of making your subscription boxes custom reach far and wide.
Experience Is Everything
Subscription boxes are all about the experience. They offer a taste of glamor and the thrill of mystery, as your subscribers eagerly discover what’s stored inside. Custom subscription box design can elevate the “unboxing” experience and ensure customers feel like they’re receiving a special gift from the moment they spot your unique packaging.
A custom box also ensures that your package is tailor-made to fit the products inside, with a clean and professional finish. Your packaging is the first glimpse customers will have of your brand — seize the opportunity to impress and delight them.
Stand Out in the Crowd
Subscription boxes are wildly successful. Between books, clothing, cosmetics and craft beers, almost every niche industry offers a multitude of subscription boxes to choose from. If you want to stand out, you need to curate a unique package down to the very last detail. Custom subscription box packaging is an essential way to showcase how you’re different. Bright colors and beautiful images will create a memorable first impression that can turn one-time subscribers into loyal customers.
Cultivate Brand Awareness
When you create a custom subscription box, you can tailor every detail to match your brand. Colors, logos, artwork and messaging can guide customers to immediately recognize your brand. The more familiar they become with your company, the more they will resonate with your product and brand. Colors can also help to set the mood. Choose light colors for a clean, minimalist feel or bright colors for a fun and attention-grabbing pop.
Build a Cohesive Theme
Your packaging should perfectly complement the products inside. If your digital brand is built on luxury and aesthetic, a standard-fit brown kraft box won’t exactly send the right message. With custom subscription box packaging, you can make sure that every detail of your box builds on your theme and aligns with your brand.
Create a Social Media Buzz
An aesthetically pleasing subscription box is far likelier to end up displayed on a customer’s newsfeed. This visual appeal can strengthen your marketing efforts and create a buzz around your service. With the popularity of online shopping and the persuasive nature of social media, creating Instagram-worthy content isn’t just a perk — it’s a must.
Create Your Custom Subscription Boxes With Just a Few Clicks
Custom Boxes Now offers in-house design, manufacturing and delivery services to create the custom boxes of your choice. Using our simple online box configuration tool, you can craft unique packaging that showcases what your brand has to offer.