Subscription Boxes: Design, Packaging, And Manufacturing

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Does your subscription business need monthly subscription boxes?

Customers love subscription boxes because, unlike most consumer products bought from click & mortar stores, they provide curated products and a new experience at each delivery. 

Subscription boxes are not just about the products inside — they’re also about the experience. 

While customers enjoy being part of a "club" and being exposed to new products from their favorite brands, niche and commercial companies are also benefiting from this growing trend.

What makes subscription boxes unique?

  • Delivered by mail: Subscription boxes are appealing because they’re physically delivered to subscribers. Checking the mail has become exciting once again!
  • Based on a recurring subscription or membership: Subscription boxes are exclusively for those who have a subscription or membership.
  • Feature one or more distinct value propositions: The satisfaction that customers get from a subscription box is not only associated with the products inside, but rather, the combination of curated products, the experience, and innate exclusivity.

Subscription Boxes Considerations

Monthly subscription box businesses rely on high-quality products, extraordinary packaging, outstanding delivery service, and long-lasting customer relationships.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you start a subscription box business or improve an existing one.

  • Starting a Subscription Box Business: If you aren’t already in the thick of it, you are likely asking how to start a subscription box business. Like any subscription business, there are many steps in creating a successful company. Learn more about starting a subscription box business. Here are a few.
        • Start with a great subscription box idea.
        • Create a subscription box business plan and marketing strategy.
        • Decide on your company’s name, logo, branding, and brand guidelines.
        • Determine the total cost and consumer price for your subscription box.
        • Choose a carrier for your subscription box service.
        • Put together a prototype subscription box.
        • Set up a website and promote your subscription box on social media.
        • Officially launch your subscription box service.
        • Start taking orders and ship your subscription boxes.
        • Adapt your marketing plan as your subscriber base grows.
  • Shipping Requirements: Shipping is a core operation of any subscription business. A good or bad shipping experience can shape a customer's opinion of your subscription service. Getting the shipping and delivery right every time is essential.

    There are four primary carriers for box shipping: USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Each carrier offers slightly different services, technology, and communication methods. When you pick a carrier, consider cost, reliability, deliverability, efficiency, and ease of package tracking.

  • Creative Design: Beautifully designed subscription box packaging can take your subscribers' experience to the next level. After all, they expect to feel like they're getting something special, right?

    The best subscription boxes are customized. Your box needs to stand out from the competition, feel personalized, and appear innovative, all of which enhances the subscriber's experience. Ideally, your subscription box design represents your brand, protects your product, and delights your customers.

    Subscription boxes should be practical, branded, beautiful, and experiential.

    Subscription box packaging should be made with durable material so they can withstand the weight of the products inside and protect them from shifting or breaking. The best and most popular material for subscription boxes is corrugated fiberboard.The box should be sized to fit all products comfortably: not too big or small — just perfect.

  • Manufacturing & Printing: It's essential to have a prototype box created first before having them manufactured in bulk. Choosing a custom packaging manufacturer that can create a unique design, create the best packaging, and handle all printing needs is ideal. Premium, high-quality printing should be consistent from box to box.

As you start your subscription box business, scale one that's already successful, or look for a new manufacturing vendor, there are specific things to keep in mind as you research subscription box designers and packaging manufacturers.

Subscription Box Designers & Manufacturers

Subscription Box Designers & Manufacturers

All businesses in the subscription box industry want a great product that subscribers love, plus packaging that sets them apart from the competition.

Having a go-to team, whether in-house or outsourced, that offers an all-encompassing subscription box solution from concept to manufacturing, helps to keep production streamlined and profitable.

  • Find a partner, not a dictator. Find a subscription box packaging partner that cares about your vision, business objectives, and needs first and foremost. While they may be the design and manufacturing experts, you are the expert of your product and subscribers. Your packaging and manufacturing company should aim to satisfy your creative goals while adhering to your company's standards, processes, and brand guidelines. Find a partner who will deliver on brief, in brand, and within your budget and timeline.
  • Look for an all-in-one team. When you have a packaging team that handles everything from concept to structural design and graphic design to manufacturing, you've struck gold. An all-in-one team should be able to deliver high-quality customized solutions tailored that meet your objectives and handle the project from start to finish. Be sure to also ask about contract packaging services.
  • Don't compromise on quality. The subscription box packaging manufacturers that you hire should be committed to the highest standards in quality at every turn, hopefully, driven by Standard Operating Procedures and frequently audited by Quality Assurance.
  • Trust them to handle the details. All departments should work hand-in-hand to ensure all aspects and logistics are managed seamlessly and compatibly. This includes ensuring: 
      • All customer goals are met
      • Prototypes can be accurately replicated in mass-production 
      • Comprehensive testing to guarantee the subscription box and products inside are protected during transport
      • Carrier/postal service specifications are met
      • Exceptional experiences are provided upon receipt every time 

When your subscription service is ready for monthly subscription boxes, keep all these things in mind. As you research packaging designers and manufacturers, keep a checklist in hand to track and rate packaging quality, customer service, average cost, average order fulfillment rate, and other essential performance indicators. 

Good luck growing your subscription box business — and don't forget to enjoy the journey!

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