Last Updated on 7 April 2022 by Gertrude
Anything can be inside a subscription box.
The more thoughtful the products are inside a subscription box, the more customers want.
No one wants to buy fluff in the name of a ‘MYSTERY BOX UNPACKING’.
People want to feel they spent their money well that’s why they risk buying from subscription box businesses.
The most successful subscription box business is the Dollar Shave Club.
You guessed right, beard care for men.
Other successful subscription box businesses include wine, coffee, books and beauty products subscription boxes.
Mystery boxes/subscription boxes became popular because of the increase in popularity of UNBOXING VIDEOS.
Whether YouTubers unboxed electronics, cameras or luxury items or bought mysterious containers, viewers are glued to their phones/electronics awaiting the surprise item.
The thrill of finding something you don’t expect makes the subscription box business grow in popularity and demand.
I love surprises.
Nothing beats the joy of receiving gift packages, unboxing and lavishing in that particular moment.
Subscription boxes are a new trend in Kenya.
There are not so many subscription box businesses in Kenya yet.
The lack of subscription or popularity of subscription box businesses in Kenya doesn’t mean your subscription box business cannot succeed.
In fact, with proper education to your customers and an excellent selection of products for your subscription boxes, you’re sure to create fanaticism around subscription businesses.
Because of the popularity of birthday gifts and lavish kids’ parties, ensure your subscription box targets these new monies or birthday celebrants.
A TIP ABOUT MARKETING YOUR SUBSCRIPTION BOX BUSINESS:
Always market your subscription box business to customers.
Every time an idea pops out of your head, run it with potential customers on social media.
Your potential customers open your eyes to what they want.
Another pro tip about subscription box businesses:
Choose products that customers will buy monthly or in recurrence.
For example, a bottle of wine needs refilling, books need to be read all the time we need beauty products monthly or hygiene products.
This turns a subscription box business into a membership business.
Members are fanatics that hype about your subscription box business and products which means more revenue for you.
Are you excited to start a subscription box business?
In this article, I will talk about everything you need to know about starting a subscription box business.
I will also give you tips and advice on how you can run a successful subscription box business.
What is a Subscription Box Business and How Does It Work?
A subscription box is a package that is used to send curated collections of certain categories of products that are unique and have a theme.
This can be anything from T-shirts, gadgets, gourmet meals, shoes, toys, skincare products etc.
What happens in a subscription box business is that you find clients and offer them subscription services based on their budget and needs.
You will then deliver these packaged items in boxes to your customers either weekly, monthly or yearly depending on the subscription model chosen.
Your customers will pay a subscription fee upfront for the items that they want you to get them.
This is how a subscription box business works.
Is a Subscription Box Business Profitable?
A subscription box business is a very profitable business venture that any solopreneur should think about starting today.
The number of subscription box businesses are rising in Kenya due to the high demand.
More people are embracing the idea of giving and receiving gifts and there is no better way to do this than with subscription boxes.
Subscription boxes are also a good way to gift yourself if you love new unusual items.
The high demand for subscription box services shows that there is high income potential.
You can start a subscription box business as a side job or a full time job and make money with it.
How Do I Start a Profitable Subscription Box Business Today?
Here are the steps you must follow to start a subscription box business today and they include:
Do market research
Study your market and do a thorough analysis on your competitors and your target audience.
Who are your competitors?
What are they doing?
Are there any potential market gaps?
What can I do to gain a competitive advantage over them?
You need to also know who your customers are and what they need from your subscription box business.
What is the most common problem they are facing in other subscription box businesses?
Understanding customer demographics is important to gain a clear perspective as you start your subscription box business.
Choose your niche
Identify the niche that you want to invest in.
It can be a fitness subscription, makeup subscription, clothes subscription or food subscription.
It is important to choose a niche so that you may focus more and gain expertise in a particular area in your subscription box business.
For example, if you choose to go the clothing way, you can make subscription boxes on luxury items.
You will also be able to choose the right target audience for your niche and acquire the right skills.
Once you have selected your niche, you move on to the next step.
Source your products
The next thing you want to do is to find a supplier for your subscription box items.
These are the people whom you will be working round the clock with to get high quality and affordable items.
You need to find a reliable supplier who will ensure that your subscription box items are always replaced when they are finished.
Do a pre-launch
The next thing you need to think about is doing a pre-launch of your subscription boxes.
Trust me, you do not want to send out your subscription boxes into the market right off the bat.
You need to get a prototype box and introduce it to potential subscribers who will then give you feedback on whether or not they like the type of products they are likely going to receive if they subscribe to your box service.
Choose a sales platform
If your subscription box has good reception, you can proceed and choose the sales platform for your business.
Most sales platforms are on the business’s website or the business’s social media account.
You can choose to partner with Amazon FBA if you do not want to handle the logistics.
Promote your business
You now want to think about promoting your business so that you can find customers who are interested and ready to buy your subscription boxes.
Knowing your target audience is an important first step in this process.
You can market your business both online and offline in order to find a wide customer base.
Offer variety and quality items
You have to do your research and get the best quality items to your customers if you want them to maintain their subscription.
More customers mean more business success.
Know how you are going to process your subscription boxes.
Do not make it too high or too low.
Keep the pricing fair to your customers and still profitable to you if you want to be successful in your subscription box business.
Build your brand
Branding is a very important aspect of a subscription box business.
This includes having a good business name, logo design and good product images on your landing page to influence customers to your business.
Practice good customer service
A subscription box business should be all about customer satisfaction and a good customer experience.
This is what drives your business to be successful.
You must know how to make a proper budget for your boxes, products, shipping and packaging costs as well as all the other costs incurred in your business.
You will learn easier if your business is operating at a loss.
Marketing your business
Any successful business owner must know the importance of promoting your business and making yourself known.
Have good marketing strategies that are going to attract more subscribers to your business.
What Will I Do in a Subscription Box Business?
There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in your subscription box business.
The day in the life of a subscription includes but isn’t limited to the activities below:
Sourcing new products and items
Checking the quality of your products before they go into the subscription boxes
Creating box themes for the next season/year
Getting the subscription boxes ready for shipping
Ensuring good customer service
Looking out for new suppliers of products/boxes
Advertising your subscription box business
What Do I Need to Start a Subscription Box Business?
This is what you need to start a subscription box business.
- Subscription box inventory e.g the boxes, packaging materials, shoes, clothes, toys, skincare products etc.
- Storage space for your products and boxes
- A website
- A business licence
- Business insurance
What are the Expenses for Starting a Subscription Box Business?
It is very important that you know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a subscription box business.
And the expenses include:
Cost of inventory
- Packaging and shipping costs
- Rent expenses
- Licensing fees
- Insurance premiums
- Advertising expenses
- Website costs
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Subscription Box Business?
Starting a subscription box business has fewer capital costs.
The amount of money it costs you to start a subscription box business will be dependent on the type of products you are investing in, as well as the packaging and shipping costs.
When you are starting out, you can do the packaging and shipping on your own to save on costs.
If you are going for high quality products, you will be spending more on startup capital.
How Do I Make Money With a Subscription Box Business?
With a subscription box business, you will charge customers a certain amount of money based on the subscription model they choose.
At first, you offer free samples to your prospective customers to show them what you have in store for them, after which they pay the subscription fee to keep getting the subscription box items they need.
You can start with a niche product or start with mystery boxes where your subscription boxes get packed with different items.
Ensure you get products which you can mark their prices up.
How Much Should I Charge My Customers?
The amount of money you charge your customers will depend on the following factors.
- Competition. Look at what other subscription box business owners are charging and use that as the base price for which you will be charging the subscription fees.
- Type of products. If you are investing in high quality luxury products, the subscription fee will be higher to cater for these products, unlike when you have low end or average quality products.
You also have to consider the cost of the subscription boxes as well as the packaging materials cost, shipping costs, acquisition costs and transaction costs.
Make sure to keep your charges fair to your customers.
You also have to make profit so I would advise you to go for items that cost less than the price for subscription.
How Much Money Can I Make With a Subscription Box Business?
The amount of money you make will depend on your marketing efforts and how many of your customers are actively using your subscription box business.
You can make a lot of money with a subscription box business if you employ good marketing strategies and learn how to strike a good balance between selling quality inexpensive items to customers and earning profit.
Legal Requirements For a Subscription Box Business
When you are starting a subscription box business, you have to make sure you are in full compliance with the law so that you will not end up paying heavy fines or get your business shut down.
These are the necessary permits and licences you need to start a subscription box business.
- Business licence
- Business insurance
- Service contract
- Occupancy permit
What Skills Do I Need to Start a Subscription Box Business?
There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start a subscription box business. Successful subscription box business owners usually have these traits and skills.
- Creativity. You have to have a creative eye if you are starting a subscription box business. This goes a long way in the design of your boxes and how you are going to develop your product images to attract subscribers into your business.
- Research skills. As a subscription box business owner, you must know how to look into and analyse consumer trends so that you can come up with what best fits your customers.
- Networking. Networking is an excellent skill that you just have as a subscription box business owner because you will be interacting with other people in this business and learn from them.
- Customer service. You must practice good customer service if you want to facilitate customer satisfaction and good customer experience. Services like doorstep delivery are highly recommended in a subscription box business.
- Marketing skills. Know how to promote your business if you want to find clients. Without customers, your business fails to exist.
How to Promote a Subscription Box Business
After getting your first clients, do not stop there. If you want to market your subscription box business to create more leads and make yourself known,consider doing this.
Word-of-mouth. Make quality subscription boxes and build your brand through that. It is easier to get more clients this way. When people can acknowledge how great your products are, they will most definitely tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you for your services. Ask for referrals and testimonials to get more clients.
Website. Go online and showcase your products. Take time to optimise your website for SEO and also build content.
Your website will create a first impression on your customers and this will determine if they seek your services or not.
Social Media. Leverage the connections you have on social media and use that to showcase your subscription boxes on Facebook and Instagram, share relevant contents and create promotions and advertisements to create more sales and leads. You can also create YouTube posts and advertise your business this way.
Advantages of Starting a Subscription Box Business
These are some of the benefits of starting a subscription box business.
- Little capital. Starting a subscription box business requires little capital costs. You can start with items which cost less than the subscription and keep on advancing as you go along.
- Predictable income. Since you will be operating on a subscription-based model, it is easier to determine the amount of money you are going to receive as income in a week, month or year.
- High profit margins. High value subscription boxes have high profit margins and you can make a lot of money from selling one subscription box.
- Low cost of inventory. If you have a good eye for identifying low cost items that are of high quality, then you will be spending much less money in getting the items for your subscription box.
- Use automated shipping and delivery services. You can use automated shipping and delivery services like Amazon FBA and save yourself the logistics and the shipping costs of your business.
Disadvantages of Starting a Subscription Box Business
These are the problems and challenges that you will face when you start a subscription box business.
- High competition. The subscription box business is already getting flooded. It is no lie that you will be up against other successful subscription box business owners and you need to do everything you can to stay on top of the game.
- Struggle to maintain excitement and novelty. Repeating the same subscription box items on a client can become exhausting and boring for them. You need to offer a variety of products to keep them interested in your boxes.
- Stagnation when not tailored to customers’ needs. If your subscription boxes are not tailored to your customers needs, they will not want it and your boxes will not be moving.
- Customers may cancel their subscription. Sometimes customers may cancel their subscription out of nowhere and you are left to deal with this loss.
Tips for Starting a Subscription Box Business
There are some common mistakes that subscription box business owners make that you want to avoid.
The following are tips on how to avoid mistakes subscription box business owners make and they include:
Mispricing your box
Pricing your boxes too high or too low will mean that your customers may be undercharged or overcharged. This is not fair to them or you. Make sure that you are reasonable as you set the prices for your subscription boxes.
Failure to meet customer needs
If a customer gets your subscription boxes and their needs are not satisfied, they may cancel their subscription. You have to listen to their wants and strive to satisfy them.
Failure to factor in the logistics
Consider all the logistics that come with developing and delivering a subscription box if you do not want your business to be operating at a loss.
Spending too much time and money on expensive boxes
You may spend a lot of time on the most expensive subscription boxes, but if you have low quality items, you will not get customers.
Poorly designed landing page
Your landing page should be able to speak about your business on it’s own. It should attract and influence customers to try out your subscriptions box business.
Bad product images
If you use bad product images, chances are nobody will want to use your subscription services. Have a good camera and take good pictures to share on social media and Pinterest.
Always promote your subscription box business if you want to find more clients that are ready and willing to subscribe to your boxes. If you do not market, you won’t make as much profit.
Having no niche focus for your subscription box business
Unique, Creative and Profitable Subscription Box Business Ideas
When you are starting your subscription box business, it is important to remember that it is competitive.
Look at different subscription box ideas online to understand what customers want and how they want their products packaged.
Here are examples of some of the best subscription box business ideas to try and they include:
- Deodorant and perfume subscription
- Beauty and skincare products subscription
- Chocolate and candy
- Wine and beer subscription
- Kids toys subscription
- Children’s books
- Gift baskets
- Fashion accessories
- Grooming products subscription
- Baby products
- Baking boxes
- Pet supplies
- Cleaning supplies
- New home products
- Dental care
- Baby clothes
- Socks and underwear
- Kids education books
- Jewellery making sets
- Cross-stitching set
- Cooking subscription boxes
- Electronic accessories
There is no doubt that social media and the e-commerce industry have led to the rapid growth of the subscription box business.
The majority of Kenyans are getting into the groove of subscription boxes.
To make money in a subscription box business, understand what customers want.
If you don’t know who your customers are, then, find out online by marketing to them the goodies in your subscription boxes.
Subscription box businesses that make millions a month, provide customers with an excellent selection of products.
Don’t add fake or substandard items in your subscription box just to make it full.
Customers are subscribing to the effort. Your thoughtfulness and customisation of subscription boxes will make customers hype about your business.
Also, offer products that customers refill or buy monthly or on a recurrent basis.
You need to offer subscription boxes that appeal to your target audience.
Do you want to start a subscription box business or are you in the subscription box business and are wondering how to make money or market your subscription box business?
How do you market your subscription box business?