Subscription box businesses are fast becoming a means by which new small businesses can gain traction in the retail industry. As a subscription business owner, you curate boxes of nice goods that your customers love and want to receive on a recurring basis. Follow this guide to launch your own subscription box business.
Choose a Niche
In retail, it’s important to remember that consumers shop at established stores for general merchandise. The most successful subscription box businesses, such as BirchBox and Bespoke Post, created boxes for niche markets – which you’ll need to do for your business to take off. As a research starting point, consider your own lifestyle, hobbies, and interests, and zero in on niches where consumers may be interested in paying for a box of consumables on a subscription basis. Food, beverages, health and beauty supplies, gender-based gifts, craft kits, and pet products are a few broad areas where you might identify a niche of consumers that would buy a subscription box. Reading blogs and social media websites also may reveal niche subscription box ideas.
Once you decide on your niche, put together a sample box. In some cases, the products in your subscription box will be locally available and plentiful – in others, the your subscription box might include products you need to order from wholesalers located in Canada or abroad. Research wholesalers, and contact those with whom you want to do business by phone to ensure that they’ll be reliable sources for the products you need for your subscription boxes.
It’s never too early to build buzz when you’re launching a subscription box business. Set up a launch page – a basic lead-capture page where you can collect names and email addresses of potential subscribers. You can also offer sample subscription boxes to influencers to promote to their audiences on their blogs and social media websites to build buzz about your products. Engage with people who show interest in your subscription box on social media – by answering questions and responding to comments – to attract would-be subscribers. Once you build a preliminary list of potential subscribers, contact them by email to attract your first pre-orders.
You might be able to fill a few subscription box orders on your own, but packing and shipping hundreds of boxes monthly can become overwhelming. If you wish to handle order fulfillment in-house, ensure you have the space and dedicated employees to handle the task. You can also outsource fulfillment to a business that specializes in storing your merchandise and packing materials, and then packing and shipping your subscription boxes as orders come in. Which ever method you choose, you can use cloud-based bookkeeping software with inventory management features to accept orders and email receipts to customers, and then forward their order details to your in-house fulfillment department or fulfillment service.