This is a guest blog by Laura Gayle, the founder of Business Woman Guide

From Ipsy to Bark Box, Dollar Shave Club, Stitch Fix, Blue Apron, and more – there are countless subscription box services available online these days. These services have become incredibly popular over the last few years because they provide an exciting and hassle-free shopping experience for consumers. For online retailers, starting a subscription box service offers a stable and reliable income.

Although it is becoming increasingly competitive, it is simpler than ever to start your own subscription box service. We’re going to tell you how, but first, let’s take a look at some of the current statistics about this booming trend.

Subscription Box Service Facts and Statistics

  • Over the last five years, the subscription service market has grown by over 100% per year.
  • E-commerce subscribers can be of all ages, but most are between 25 and 44 years old.
  • Of those who receive subscription boxes, most have an income of between $50,000 (£39,200) to $100,000 (£78,400)
  • Overall, 15% of online shoppers have signed up for a subscription service over the last year.
  • Women account for a higher percentage (60%) of online subscriptions, but men are more likely to have multiple subscriptions. It is thought that this may have something to do with men wanting to save time on store trips more than women.
  • 55% of subscription boxes on the market are curated. This shows consumers’ desire for personalized experiences.

Tips for Starting your Own Subscription Box Service

With statistics like those above, you can see why getting in on this trend is a good idea. Here are step-by-step suggestions on how to do it:

  1. Start with an idea. Make sure to be specific, as that will set you up for success. Vague ideas often run into problems. Subscription boxes are available for anything and everything, so try to think of something niche that targets a particular audience. Think of who you want your customer base to be. One great way to ‘meet’ your potential customers is to see who subscribes to the boxes curated by your competitors. Take note not only of age and income level but also what their general preferred social media platform is. Once it’s time to promote your box, you’ll know which social media sites to focus on.
  2. Choose your pricing. Make sure that the price of your box remains competitive, while also giving you a profit margin that will make your business sustainable. There are a variety of calculators online to help you determine the right cost for your box. Remember to also include things like the cost of advertising your subscription service and shipping costs.
  3. Create a prototype for your box. You do not need to have your first shipment ready before you start marketing. The purpose of creating a prototype is to show your potential customers the sorts of things they will be receiving in their boxes. Consider packaging and the items you want to include in your box, making sure your packaging aligns with your brand and catches the attention of your target audience. Create a box that you would love to receive yourself on a regular basis.
  4. Promote your subscription box. Collect email addresses from potential customers (this can be friends and family to start – use your social media friends, too) and begin your pre-sale campaign to get your first paying subscribers. Make pre-sale orders available and promote their availability through social media.
  5. Make your boxes. Use any revenue made from your pre-sales, to fund creating your boxes and shipping them. Make sure you get feedback from your customers, as this will help you curate future boxes.
  6. Forecast future revenue. After your first couple of months, you’ll have a better idea of your recurring revenue, which will allow you to better plan your box contents. Online tools can help you determine the ideal order quantities.  Remember that your budget must also include the physical box and any inside filler used to keep your items safe in transit.
  7. Encourage word of mouth. Social media is a huge asset when looking to spread the word about your business – and it’s free. It’s important to engage with your audience. Consider holding box giveaways and posting unboxing videos on social media. If you happen to have a surplus of a particular item included in your box, using that extra inventory to create a giveaway is a great way to get your audience to respond to you. Unboxing videos are all the rage right now, and an easy way to show off the contents of your boxes.  

The Takeaway

Online businesses all over the world are taking part in the subscription box trend. If you want to get on board, there are some things to keep in mind. If you’re just starting your service, make sure your brand, theme, and packaging are consistent. Always encourage word of mouth among your customers, they can be your best marketing strategy. Make sure you deliver on expectations, as customers will only keep coming back if your product meets their needs. If your customers are happy, your business will benefit, and you’ll be able to count on having predictable revenue and increasing your bottom line.

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