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Subscription Boxes: The Next Big Thing?

Sunday, January 25, 2015 by

subscription boxes

Subscription boxes, if you’re not presently familiar with the concept, are boxes sent out monthly to individuals who’ve subscribed for the service. While this definition is accurate, it doesn’t exactly provide a lot of information on what the product is, or why a person is selling it to another person. A subscription box contains a random set of items that differs every month. There are different types of subscription box services, providing shaving accoutrements, beauty products, video game related items, baby items, geography lessons to children, and just about everything in between. If you can come up with an idea and there are enough products of that category to keep your subscription box going, that’s all you need. Prices for these subscription boxes generally range from $10 to $40; however, there are specialty boxes with much higher price tags as well.


What makes A Successful Subscription Box?

As with any business, the key to starting a successful subscription box service is a combination of the right products, high quality service, and prompt attention to customer feedback. If a customer complains that they don’t like your offerings, that’s fine, it may not be their thing, but if ten or twenty people complain about the quality of the items you are providing, then maybe it’s time to look into what you’re doing. Offer higher quality items, offer a discount as an apology and don’t use that supplier anymore; do something. Make it right.


How To Get Started

You’ll need to find a supplier (or several) for the products that you want your subscription box to contain, setup a method for you to purchase those items, and setup your website. You need storage space for all the inventory, and you need high quality customer service to deal with new subscriptions, cancellation requests, kudos and complaints.

You will need a storefront on your website, as the best subscription box services offer samples at a low cost and then sell full sized versions of their products in their store, or additional items associated with the goods in the subscription boxes in their store. And you will need a boxing service. You can either box these items yourself, or you may decide to hire people to do that for you. You can now purchase the standard subscription box sized boxes online by simply Googling “subscription box boxes.” You’ll also need an SSL (to make your site secure). Once you have that, you’re all set and ready to start accepting customers!

This is a type of business that is quick and easy to setup, but it moves fast, so be sure to have your site setup, your storage, your inventory, and be ready to go before you make your subscription service live. Waiting lists prior to the service being started tend to make people want to cancel. If, however, you have more sign ups than you do inventory your first month, you can waitlist those while you wait on a new shipment (this is a good sign). Don’t be surprised, however, if you don’t have a wait list until a few months in. This is normal. This is one of the easiest business models to setup, and quite frankly, people love them. It’s like getting a present in the mail every month, a random surprise.

If you’re still not convinced – I personally know someone who spends over $200 per month on subscription boxes, and I subscribe to $50 worth of subscription boxes on a monthly basis myself. Not all are gems, but I constantly try new ones. I’ve stayed with a box for months before I decide if I want to cancel it. Two of my current favorites are Birchbox and Escape Monthly – they’re very well setup if you’d like to check their sites to get ideas on how to setup yours. It’s a great way to try new things, things that you would never buy for yourself, and once you get hooked on a product, it’s easy to just keep going back to that company to buy the full sized items. Check it out! It’s an easy business model to jump right into, and it’s taking off fast!

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Image Source: Salazar Packaging. (2014). Subscription Box Packaging. Retrieved from
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