How To Start A Subscription Box Business For Less Than $20!
There's a subscription box for almost anything these days...
But I'm sure you've got a great idea for one you haven't seen before! Want to get started but don't know how? Heres our subscription box step-by-step guide that will get you up and running by the end of tonight, if you're up to it!
Step One : Figure this stuff out.
- Find your niche. In order to be a successful subscription box business, you need to find out who you're trying to market to. Whether it's dog owners, college students, Stay-at-home parents... find your market and research it. I suggest joining every Facebook group and following every Facebook page that your niche group follows.
- Find your competition. You'll be incredibly lucky if no one else has already started the subscription box you're trying to start. Use google and research the other companies that do it. Try and think about what you can do to make your box different from theirs. Read reviews, look at their past products. Check out their social media and see what they're doing to make their box successful.
- Find your name. Go to Godaddy.com, and go to domain search. Here is the best way to see what you should name your Subscription box. It's always better to go with a .com, but if your heart is set on a name for your box it's not always financially the best decision. Try all different combinations of words that make what you're doing clear, and is easy for the customer to remember. (BarkBox, CatCrate, TheCollegeBox, Winewagon... a word that specifies your product, and a word that specifies that it's a box.) Once you have a .com that you think is perfect for your new Subscription box, purchase it! I've never spend more than $10 for any of my domain names, but you can pick whatever fits your budget. Get creative with your wording (but not confusing!) to find similar domains at a cheaper price.
Step 2: Start A Launch
The Brilliance behind a subscription box, is that it's little to no money out of your own pocket! You set up all of the online stuff then start taking pre-orders to fund the rest of the project. There are online companies that will set up your online page and store, but I've found it better to do it yourself that way you're not giving up a chunk of money to a third party.
Once you have your domain purchased, it's time to set up your online store. If you can operate HubPages, you'll be able to operate a simple drag-and-drop website builder like Weebly. There are other website builders, but weebly is one of the only ones that are prepared for recurring subscriptions. Your launch page should have the following info, as well as the E-commerce section enabled to take paypal and Stripe payments. (You will find these options on the store section of your Weebly Website.)
Your product and what it is: You'll want sample photos of the type of products you intend to carry, how many products you intend to put in the box (usually 5-7), and what customers can expect every month.
Your price: Take a look at what your competitors are charging for their boxes, and keep it in that range. They've already done the research, so if they're succeeding that is about how much you'll need to charge in order to pay for everything and make a profit. You may want to make it slightly more so that you can offer discounts to people that sign up early. (10% off for life if you sign up today, $10 off your first box, etc.)
Your launch date: Two months is a good timeline to start taking orders and get your box together. You're going to want time to promote your box and get orders!
Gather this info together, put the page together, connect your domain, and you can be live to take orders in just a couple hours! (Don't just sit back and expect the orders to just come in though, this next section will help you make those orders start rolling in!) Chick here to see a good example of a launch page.
Step 3: Marketing!
Marketing used to be super pricey, but now that it's 2018 you have the best marketing tool right at your fingertips and it's free. Social media is a super powerful marketing tool. Set up a Facebook page and start by adding all of your friends. Then set up a twitter and an Instagram account using the same name, so they're all linked. update the statuses with stock photos of what you're looking to do, and the link to your website. Make sure to use hashtags! The more the merrier. every post should have 7+ hashtags. Follow pages that specialize in whatever your niche audience is, and share share, share! Share the link on Pinterest, on your Facebook groups, and anywhere else! You cannot do enough sharing. Always add "Like & Share" in every status update. People don't have the opportunity to buy your product if they don't know about it. If you have iMovie on your computer, it's an amazing tool to put together short videos that will engage with your audience. (See below.)
Step 4: Put your box together!
Ok, not literally. This is where all the hard work comes in. Start calling vendors and telling them what you're doing, and asking if they'd like to be a part of it. To have a successful box you're going to need your products to be small, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive. Keeping shipping and packaging in mind, you're probably going to want to keep your price point at $1-$3 cost per item. Lots of companies will want to participate simply because it's free marketing - and make sure to remind them of that! You will have a flyer in each box that describes each item and where it comes from. Make a list of all the companies that want to participate, and remember it doesn't need to be just for the first box either! Depending on your niche, you should be able to find lots of small businesses at your local farmers markets or Swap meets.
Now, you can start getting ideas of what you want your packaging to look like. There are lots of custom box designers online. These also work great for getting a prototype box together, if you make a sample box and screen shot the image. You can order the custom boxes but they can get a bit pricey. If you're expecting to sell under 100 boxes the first month, look into printing your labels at home and decorating plain boxes with them. Check your local office supply or craft store for fun labels you can design yourself.
Giveaways can also be a great tool to promote your Subscription Box!
Steph 5: Ship and get started on the next month!
That's it! Easy Peasy. Remember to be collecting all of your customers' info in a database so you can send them monthly updates, and referral specials. Make sure to use your social media! Including promotions like the one below (Made with Adobe Spark, a free and top notch site to create graphics) may help strengthen your social media strength, as well as spread the word. When it comes to social media presence, you will get what you put into it. If you post often enough, and your idea is a good one, word of mouth (or word of Facebook) will be your biggest ally. The more you post, the more people you will reach. The less you post, the more stagnate your product will be. Don 't expect to post once and people to be beating your door down! A Social media account should get 5-10 good posts a day to gain a following. They should all be different, and they don't all necessarily need to be related to your product. Funny memes or pictures related to your niche should be scattered throughout your posts. So be creative, Spread the word, and good luck!