Learn how to outdo your competitors with creative ideas for your subscription box business.
Want groceries delivered weekly or daily? Or your medicine replenished every quarter? How about a specially curated selection of books delivered at your doorstep every month?
There’s a subscription box option for all the above, and much more—all the things you require on a recurring basis.
According to studies, the average consumer has at least one to five subscriptions. However, they might be actively using only one, or worse, none.
That’s because most subscriptions are no different from the others. And it’s hard to keep customers engaged.
So how can you ensure your subscription box business has an edge over the others in your industry?
That’s what we tell you in this blog—10 actionable ideas to power up your build a box subscription business.
What is a build a box subscription service?
A build a box subscription allows customers to create a customized box of products or services as per their requirements. Their customized boxes are delivered on a recurring basis on pre-defined delivery dates, for example, a monthly subscription delivery, quarterly, weekly, etc.
Let’s look at some examples of build a box subscription plans.
One of the best clothing and style subscription boxes, Stitch Fix offers a box of clothing and styling for women, men, and children. One of the strongest USPs of the brand is the initial quiz via which they determine subscriber taste and preferences and personalize their subscription boxes.
Lovevery Play Kits
Play Kit is a toys and games subscription box designed for toddlers. The brand sends age-based boxes with toys and games that are designed for entertainment as well as brain development.
With so many options around, your customers are looking for nothing less than the best subscription boxes. And ‘build a box’ is one of the more preferred types of subscriptions as it offers freedom of choice, flexibility, and control, among other benefits. Now let’s talk about how to make your subscription box the best in your niche.
10 ideas to create an effective build a box subscription experience
As most subscription marketers would agree, subscription boxes aren’t so much about the boxes but more about the experience. Here are some ideas to create the best subscription box experience for your customers.
1. Give subscribers the freedom of choice
If you think of the recurring payments, subscriptions can feel like an expensive commitment after a point. Besides, the idea of using the same product or service over and over again can seem boring.
And that’s where build a box subscriptions stand out from other types of subscriptions. It allows subscribers to choose what, when, and how.
Here’s what freedom of choice matters:
- It gives customers the power to choose—makes them feel empowered
- It makes them feel your focus in on their wants and needs
- It gives them more satisfaction and hence creates deeper engagement
- Allow customers to choose the products and services
- Personalize the products and services for them
- Adjust the delivery dates and time to match customers’ preferences
- Allow customers to pause, change plan or cancel as per their wish
2. Let subscribers have control over their subscription
Another aspect of subscriptions that can seem restricting to subscribers is the amount of control they have.
For example, say you want to pause a delivery or swap a few of the items in your delivery with some new products, and your subscription plan does not allow it. Or, if it does allow it, it requires you to go through a lengthy process of getting in touch with the support team. All this can seem daunting.
Instead, customers should be able to make these changes on their own. A build a box subscription can give subscribers this control.
And here’s how to start a subscription box that provides control to subscribers:
- Create a seamless dashboard experience so they can manage functions on their own
- Allow them to pause, swap or change delivery
- Automate dunning management
- Make plan upgrades and cancellation easy
3. Introduce new products from time to time
Another reason why customers keep away from subscriptions is boredom with the products and services. Customers tend to get bored of using the same product after a point.
Hence, ensure you introduce something new to keep them engaged and excited.
Here’s what you can do:
- Introduce new products and services
- Add a surprise to their regular delivery—a new product or service
- Offer the new product/service at a discount so that subscribers use it
- Offer the new items for free in exchange for a review
4. Add an element of surprise to the subscription boxes
Curated subscription boxes have an element of surprise as subscribers don’t know what products they’re going to receive. It’s human psychology, as researcher Dr. Charles Livingstone explains, when you give customers a predictable set of rewards, they lose interest.
Although build a box subscription boxes are created by subscribers themselves, it’s possible that they start finding monthly subscription boxes monotonous. Moreover, they might not have the time or inclination to change their boxes.
That’s why incorporating a surprise element helps.
You can integrate the surprise angle by doing the following:
- Include freebies in the deliveries
- Change the delivery packaging
- Share an informative guide to use the products
- Send a birthday gift
- Send an anniversary gift
- Include something exclusive that is not easily available in the market
5. Combine the subscription box with charities
Today’s conscious customers prefer products and services that have a bigger meaning—an element of kindness attached to them. They want to buy products that support different types of causes.
This is where you can combine your monthly subscription boxes with giving back to support a cause.
Charitable subscription boxes are nothing new. From grocery to wellness to books, some of the best subscription boxes combine the element of charity in them.
Here’s how you can combine subscriptions with charity:
- Offer a part of the profits to a charity
- Source products that are part of your inventory that support artisans and small businesses
- Allow subscribers to choose from different causes they want to support
- Partner up with local charities
- Tell subscribers the impact their contribution creates, from time to time
6. Merge loyalty programs with the subscription box
Do you have a loyalty program running on your eCommerce site? If yes, you can combine it with your subscription platform.
Let your recurring customers (subscribers) also earn loyalty rewards with their quarterly, monthly, or weekly subscription boxes. It’s one of the best ways to reduce subscription churn rate, which is 40%.
Moreover, in the beginning, subscriber customers bring lesser monetary value to your business compared to one-time purchasers. And hence, your aim should be to ensure a long-term association.
The key to running successful subscription businesses is to offer more value to customers. Now, your subscription boxes are already offering benefits to customers such as convenience, lower prices, etc. Combine it with your loyalty program to give subscribers more than the normal subscription.
Here’s what you can do:
- Provide unique benefits to subscribers. For example, fast shipping, free deliveries, etc.
- Build a community of your subscribers and loyalty program members combined
- Create multiple ways for subscribers to earn loyalty points
- Offer loyalty points to customers who share referrals and convert
- Personalize the loyalty program for your subscribers
7. Build a seamless Shopify subscription box experience
To run a successful subscription business, one of the first prerequisites is a smooth-sailing platform. Today’s customers are easily put off by sites and apps that don’t function properly, are slow, and difficult to navigate.
Hence, if you’re wondering how to start a subscription box, your first step is to find the best subscription box app.
Follow these best practices:
- First, choose a subscription app that is easy to set up
- The app should be GDPR and data privacy compliant so customers feel secure when transacting on your platform
- Make your subscription platform mobile friendly
- Ensure easy navigation
- Make it easy for customers to perform functions on their own. For example, pause, swipe, cancellation, etc.
8. Personalize your subscription box experience
Customers expect hyper personalization from their favorite brands. They expect brands to understand their likes, interests, and needs so their shopping experience is good.
Moreover, they also expect brands to send reminders, proper updates and notifications for everything—in short, keep them informed about all matters that are even remotely relevant to them.
And when it comes to subscription boxes, customers already expect brands to treat them special. So, personalization is a given.
Here’s how you can personalize your customers subscription experience:
- Conduct surveys to understand customers better
- Regularly communicate with customers for their feedback
- Make customers a part of your subscription business decisions—for example, the type of new products and services they’d like
- Provide personalization of delivery dates, timings, frequency, etc.
- Include personalized benefits such as gifts and freebies on their birthday
9. Provide excellent customer service
Customer service is still one of the most important aspects of any business.
Consider these facts:
- Customers are 94% more likely to repurchase products and services if they experience seamless customer experience
- They’re 88% more likely to increase their spending
When it comes to subscription boxes, you enter into a long-term association with customers. And hence, it’s all the more important for you to offer top-notch customer service.
Here are some ways to ensure a good customer service experience:
- Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you if they need to
- Provide multiple ways for customers to contact you. For example, phone, email, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.
- Send regular, automated updates to subscribers as a way to engage continuously
- Reach out to customers if they’re inactive or seem to require help
10. Automate dunning and churn management
We already know subscriptions have a high churn rate, because of many reasons, including,
- Failed payments
- Technical glitches on the platform
- Missed payment deadlines
- Boredom or repetitiveness for customers
To fight these enemies that lead to churn, you need an efficient defense strategy—automation.
Automating functions such as dunning management and churn reversal is an effective way to ensure subscription business success.
Here are the functions you should automate:
- Automate recurring billing
- Send automated payment reminders
- Send automated messages to retrieve failed payments
- Automate messages to motivate customers to upgrade their subscription plans
- When there are technical glitches in the app, send automated messages. For example, ‘We’re facing some technical errors. But we’ll be up and running shortly’.
Which ideas will you apply to your Shopify subscription boxes?
Even before you launch your build a box subscription business, you’ll have to put in place many strategies to make it a success.
The above are some ideas you can incorporate right from the time you start your subscription box.
However, to start off, you’ll require an efficient subscription automation tool such as Appstle Subscription and Loyalty app.
Trusted by Shopify merchants across industries, Appstle is among the best subscription apps, providing comprehensive capabilities, such as bundling, dunning management, flexible billing, loyalty features, analytics, and more.
Explore Appstle subscription functions for your build a box subscription.