Category : Other

5 Quick Tips for How Subscription Box Companies Can Save on Packaging

It’s not surprising to say that packing materials are necessary to keep items from getting damaged when shipping – but they need to look good to. Unfortunately, they can quickly become a big expense for a subscription box company. Here are five ways that you can cut down the cost of packing materials without risking damage or the quality of your customer’s “un-boxing” experience. carton

  1. Buy in Bulk

Once you decide on the box sizes and types of packing materials you will need, purchase them in bulk to save money.  A simple search on the internet will show where you can purchase the items for the best price.  Amazon, ebay, and Walmart all offer shipping materials at reasonable prices.  If a certain item will require a different sized box, plan for that ahead of time so you can have it on hand when it comes time to ship that month.

  1. Use the Correct Size Box

It’s impossible to stress the importance of using a box that is the right size for your items enough.  Shipping in a box that is larger than necessary contributes to a much higher shipping charge, as well as extra packing material.  Reducing the box size by just an inch can make a difference in shipping costs, and if it can fit in the mailbox, even better!

  1. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Items such as boxes, bubble wrap, peanuts, plastic air bags, and envelopes can all be reused.  Just make sure the items are in very good condition and clean before using them again. Many “new” packaging materials are made from recycled materials as well. Using these types of products can have a great appeal to many potential customers.

  1. Free Shipping Supplies

If you are able to, take advantage of free shipping supplies from your carrier.  USPS, FedEx and UPS all offer some items for free.  For example, the USPS offers free flat rate boxes and free mailing tubes for Priority Mail.  If you find items that are suitable for your shipping needs, you’ll maybe even save enough to offset slightly higher shipping costs.

  1. Search for Sales

Sometimes, retailers run sales or promotions on certain shipping supplies.  Office Max and Office Depot offer coupons if you register on their website or at their stores.  These coupons can be used for tape guns, boxing tape, and tape guns.

 

With just a little effort, subscription box companies have many options for cutting down on the expensive packaging materials.

How to Communicate Your Expected Ship Date

Make your expected ship date clear and improve customer experience, retention & expectations.

Re-published with permission from www.subscriptionschool.com.

Shipping

Great customer experiences thrive on a pretty simple principle: make it easy for shoppers to quickly get what they wantAnd modern shopping has gone far to provide that. It’s easy to pull out your device, search for what you want, and make your purchase.

Naturally, as shoppers we expect the fulfillment of those products to be just as great: fast shipping on our orders that we can easily track.

Subscription boxes for the most part, though, don’t always follow the fulfillment side of this model, and it starts with a lack of standards.

In most cases, subscription business owners choose the specifics around shipping and renewal dates based on their schedules and what works best for their business. While ecommerce stores compete with each other by offering fast, free or same-day shipping, subscription boxes get away with having widely different shipping policies, even while serving the same niche. Two boxes that send the same products can ship at different times of the month entirely.

Communication around shipping also tends to be less emphasized with subscription boxes, perhaps because of this.

For example, it’s not uncommon for subscription box companies to only share this information on the FAQ page, buried under cancellation policies and “What’s in the box?” type questions.

Ultimately, this can lead to confusion and missed expectations for shoppers.

But by managing expectations and removing ambiguity around when subscribers will receive their shipment, you can improve the experience while reducing confusion and frustration felt by your customers. That means returning to the great customer experience we expect with our normal online shopping.

This starts with great communication. Because of the natural flexibility with subscription boxes, we suggest focusing on your communications around “expected ship date” — the date you expect to ship your boxes.

How to Communicate Your Expected Ship Date

Communicating your expected ship date doesn’t take a lot of work. Here are four ideas & places to communicate this critical information to subscribers:

Explain it in Your FAQs

If nowhere else, your expected ship date ought to be in your FAQs.

The FAQ section is a hallmark of ecommerce stores, and that includes subscription boxes. You can organize your FAQs however you like (I suggest setting up a styled Help Center via Zendesk), but when crafting your answers, try to add the expected ship date everywhere it makes sense.

Prospurly’s FAQs actually features it 4 times, including in the first 2 questions, as well as an additional statement for overseas shipping and expected ship times for those customers (+7 days).

Prospurly Example FAQ

Add it to Your Welcome Email

The “Welcome” email is likely your email with the highest engagement you’ll ever send.

Seriously!

Welcome emails are emails that send immediately after a subscriber joins your subscription. We’ve talked a bit about welcome emails in the past.

To give you a sense of what that engagement looks like, here’s my Mailchimp report on all welcome emails since the beginning of business:

Welcome Email Engagement

75.2% open! That’s 3 of every 4 subscribers opening up a single, automated message that I can include critical information in.

Information like your expected ship date.

In my welcome email, I spell out expected shipping dates in two places: 1) a bolded month-specific ship date (for example, we’re shipping a bit early in December) and 2) in a condensed FAQ list in the email.

Welcome Email Example

This helps ensure that subscribers know — immediately — when their box will ship. This helps reduce questions about it from the onset, and by including a CTA to buy old boxes or contact us about dates, we can immediately provide solutions to shoppers who might have thought the box shipped sooner.

Add it At Checkout

If you want to get it in front people before their welcome email, a great place to look is your checkout flow.

For me, this is pretty simple. I don’t offer variations, surveys, or dietary options on boxes. This means when people hit subscribe, they choose their size “Petite” and “Full Size”. The shipping date is shown right above that:

Choose Your Box Screen

Checkout flows might be different for you, but where possible, try to spotlight the date your box would ship.

Add it to Your Cratejoy Tool Tip

Another nice place to add this information is at the final checkout page, inside the Cratejoy tool tip.

The tool tip is a small question mark shown above the billing details. When you hover over it with your mouse, it shows your subscription and cancellation policy:

Tool tip Option

You can totally customize this tool tip.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your Cratejoy portal at my.cratejoy.com
  2. Click Setting
  3. Click Checkout
  4. Under checkout, edit your “Billing Disclaimer”. Add your shipping statement where it makes the most sense!

Expected Ship Date on the Cratejoy Marketplace

Adding expected ship date doesn’t need to stop at your storefront, either.

If you’re taking advantage of the Cratejoy Marketplace, you can use the Expected Ship Date section in your listing to make shipping dates clear to subscribers.

To add this, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your Cratejoy portal at my.cratejoy.com
  2. Click Marketplace
  3. Scroll down to “Let your shoppers know when their box will ship”
  4. Add a simple, straightforward statement to be shown on your list, like “We ship on the 20th every month”

Ship Date Tool Marketplace

Note: the expected ship date tool is limited to 350 characters, but really, it probably doesn’t need to be that long 😉

This message will appear in two places:

First, it will be shown under subscribers Marketplace Subscription cards, under Active Subscriptions and “Shipping Policy”:

shipping-policy

It will also be shown on the confirmation page after checkout has been completed:

confirmation-page

Start Promoting Your Estimated Shipping Date

Implementing each of these steps takes a short time — you can probably knock them all out in one afternoon! And the benefit you get from that is huge. Not only will subscribers have clearer expectations, but you’ll get in front of questions and help subscribers have an all around better experience.

Questions or comments? Leave them below!

5 Tips for Every Subscription Box Company

Whether your company is a start-up or established subscription box business, you want to make sure you are doing
2016-10-06_1233
everything possible to be successful. The following list has tips every subscription box company should consider:

Great Packaging

The packaging you choose for your subscription box helps to drive your brand’s image, in addition to increasing customer satisfaction as part of the allure of a subscription box is unwrapping it.  The design and style should correlate with the theme of your box and enhance the customer’s experience receiving it.

Shipping Supplies

Make sure you are using the correct size box for your products.  While it may be tempting to choose a large box, but remember, you have to ship that box.  In order to save on shipping costs, choose the right size box that will comfortably fit your items without too much wasted space.

Saving money on shipping supplies, especially in the beginning, is a good idea.  Once you decide on the box sizes and types of packing materials you will need, purchase them in bulk to take advantage of the discounted price. If you are able to recycle any packing materials, you will also be able to save on your shipping budget.

Website

Most of your sales will be from your website so a professional-looking website is imperative.  Current and potential subscribers are looking for information when they visit your site so include a detailed description of your products and services, as well as professional pictures.  Every page of your website should have an option or clickable ‘Subscribe Now’ button for customers to sign up.

Retaining subscribers is the core of any subscription box business model.  After all, if all your customers cancel after their first box, you will have no repeat monthly business.  Providing excellent customer service is a vital step for retaining customers and create a loyal customer base.

Customer Service Experience

Your staff should be properly trained to handle every type of customer service issue, so give them the right tools to succeed at their job.   Customers should not have any trouble figuring out how to contact your company so include your customer service phone number and email in several places on your website.  You want to make sure that your customers are having a positive experience when dealing with your company so ask for customer feedback in order to improve.

Manage Inventory

Effectively managing inventory is an important for any subscription box company to operate efficiently.  Forecasting inventory for upcoming months’ subscription boxes is critical so the boxes are not short on items.  Assessing inventory on a regular basis will ensure that you are not overstocked.   Many companies purchase inventory management software that can be customized to assess the business.

Growing your subscription box company should be your focus, not worrying about the daily operating details of running the business.  If you want to save time and money with fulfillment and shipping, contact us today at www.kablefulfillment.com and let our subscription box experts show you what we can do for your business.

Publishers, Look For These 6 Things When Choosing A Fulfillment Vendor

As a publisher, you face many competitive pressures. The impact of digital media and the consumer’s growing desire for more immediate gratification are two of the greatest. publisher

Keeping pace with the high rate of change in the marketplace is causing every publisher to look at new and better ways to raise the level of satisfaction for their customers – and for many this means improving their product fulfillment and distribution operation by outsourcing or finding a new third party order fulfillment provider.

Not to be overlooked is that outsourcing is a big decision and order fulfillment is not the same for all types of companies. This means taking the time to ensure potential partners have the exact capabilities you need as a publisher. Here are 6 things to look for in a potential fulfillment vendor.

Kitting

One way you as a publisher can compete with digital media is by presenting products in unique ways. This can include combing printed materials with premiums or other items. Finding a fulfillment center experienced with kitting and relabeling makes it easy to bring additional value to your customers.

Shipping Savings

Margins are tight for everyone, so working with a fulfillment warehouse who offers savings on shipping costs and a location that reduces transit time to your customers is a big positive. This will help you fulfill the buyer’s desire for more immediate gratification.

Inventory Management

A fulfillment center with technology that provides up to date inventory tracking and low inventory alerts is a valuable tool for making sure you have the right amount of products on hand at all times.

Order Processing and Payment

Publishing fulfillment can be a very transactional business. A fulfillment partner with the ability to process orders and take payments creates a more seamless experience for your customers and will make your operation easier to manage.

Subscriptions

Many publications are sold as subscriptions or otherwise shipped on a regular schedule. Having expertise and a process for automatically shipping such continuity programs can often save money during the pick pack process.

Reporting

Beyond just inventory management, having access to program data is a valuable way to understand and manage your business. The right fulfillment partner will provide flexible reporting tools that you need to improve your business and maximize your margins.

The demands of fulfilling and shipping customer orders are unique for publishers. Pick pack warehouses are a dime a dozen, but smart publishers understand the value of fulfillment partners who know their business, and what they need to be successful.

Working with a third party warehouse who specializes in fulfillment for publishers is a simple way to save money, improve service to your customers, and better compete in the marketplace.