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Everyone wanted to know how to start a subscription box business with little money a few years ago, and now everyone knows how. It was akin to the California gold rush. Despite the fact that the gold rush has ended, there is still a tremendous amount of possibility in the subscription box industry.
It’s only a matter of knowing where to look.
In fact, Loot Crate, a subscription box for geeks, is one of the top three fastest-growing firms in the United States, ranking third overall. That alone indicates that there is still a high level of interest in receiving a monthly package of goods.
Having stated that, it is not a simple task.
The specific hurdles associated with the subscription box business model must be understood if you are serious about learning how to start a subscription box without money.
The first obstacle to overcome? Cost.
When starting a subscription box business, how much money do you need to invest?
The economics of any e-commerce firm are the most critical aspects to consider. Not only do you need to understand the expenses, but you also need to understand the margins that are involved in order to be profitable.
Because there are so many moving elements in subscription boxes, this is much more critical.
There are three fundamental approaches to taking a look at it…
The brand’s business model
The for-profit model
The illustrative model
In the brand model, you are the one who develops the product as well as the subscription box. The Dollar Shave Club is the most well-known example of the brand concept in use today. They developed their own line of items, which they then distribute to you on a monthly basis. When it comes to categories that need renewal, such as razors, which must be changed on a monthly basis, this is the right strategy. The disadvantage is that you’ll wind up spending much more money since you’ll have to deal with both sides of the problem from the beginning.
In the premium model, you are responsible for the cost of other people’s items as well as the cost of the subscription box. The “Product of the month club,” which includes items such as “peanut butter of the month club” and “books of the month club,” is the most popular kind of paid model available. Because you are acquiring items from other companies at wholesale pricing, you have complete control over the value of each package. The disadvantage is that it will cost you more money than the sample model.
In the sample model, you are requesting product samples, which you will then include inside your monthly subscription box. This was the genuine beginning of the subscription boom, with Birchbox as the pioneer. It’s only a matter of paying for the box, filling it with free stuff, and selling it for a profit, right? Please include me in this program! The disadvantages are that samples are more difficult to get and that they might fluctuate in quality, which means that some months you’ll have excellent things to give and other months you won’t.
So, which is the most effective?
Personally, I feel that the brand model is the most effective. After that, there are paid models and then sample models. You’ll have to pay for the packing, but that’s a tiny annoyance when compared to the cost of the things you’d otherwise have to purchase.
Ideas for Subscription Box Businesses
There are a large number of subscription boxes available.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of launching a subscription box company in the future.
It simply implies that you must concentrate on distinctiveness.
Starting with a list of categories that you want to be in or at the very least want to investigate while you’re in the ideation process is the ideal place to start. So, if you like to exercise, socks, and peanut butter, make a list of “seed ideas” that you may use as a starting point for further exploration.
Don’t have any on hand? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Craft Chocolate Grooming Supplements are available.
Sports Hygiene Comics that are specific to the sport
Pets \sApparel \sKickstarters
After you’ve completed this step, it’s time to begin the research.
First and foremost, you should make a list of the top 5-10 rivals in each area you have chosen. For example, if you selected personal care, Birchbox would be included on your list of options. If you choose more than one category, follow the same steps as above.
Second, if any of the categories you choose include billion-dollar brands or even nine-figure brands, you must either discard the concept completely or narrow the focus even more. You will not be able to compete directly with any of the major companies in the industry. Consequently, if you’re in the personal care industry, either forgo it and pursue something different, or specialize in something specific, such as hygiene for delicate skin.
Third, if you haven’t decided on your ultimate concept yet, choose the one that you are most enthusiastic about and that you believe has the most possibility of succeeding in your endeavor. By doing so, you’ve effectively selected a company concept that is distinct from the competition and fascinating enough for you to pursue.
Business Plan for a Subscription Box
There are other avenues you may pursue, but for the time being, let’s concentrate on how to establish a subscription box without any funds. So, rather than presenting you with a slew of suggestions, I’m going to tell you exactly what you should do.
1/ Before I begin anything, I would want to double-check that the brand is actually unique from the competition. Not everything has to be completely unique, but I would want to make sure that there is a strong USP that I can point to and make it apparent why someone should subscribe to my subscription box rather than another one.
2/ It is now necessary to verify the concept. I would create a fictitious brand name and put up a Shopify site in the same manner as a genuine launch. Then I’d utilize Facebook advertisements to promote the product and sell it. The goal is to determine whether or not someone will purchase, as well as the cost of acquiring a new client. After investing a few hundred dollars and making a few sales, it’s time to move on to the next stage of my business. As for your consumers, just provide a refund and inform them that they will be included to the pre-launch list.
3/ At this stage, the hypothesis has been proven correct. That indicates it’s time to put everything on the line. In other words, you should build a genuine brand website and purchase actual shipments, speak to the people who are making the items, double-check that your margins are reasonable, and so on.
4/ Then there’s the matter of determining your marketing plan. Essentially, it boils down to three types of media: paid, earned, and owned. Paid media is a slang term that refers to advertising. Earned media includes everything that is linked to public relations, influencers, and social media that is disseminated. Owned media is anything that you own, such as an email newsletter or search engine optimization via your website.
5/ I would start with an earned media plan since you need immediate, organic traction that also establishes credibility when you first launch your campaign. This entails identifying news sites that have previously covered subscription boxes and providing free subscription boxes to influencers in return for shoutouts or even just review videos. I’m also generating organic content to grow a following on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube at the same time that this is occurring.
6/ The sponsored media approach is the next step. Once I’m generating organic sales and things are looking promising, it’s time to begin experimenting with sponsored advertisements. I’m going to take some of my most popular articles and make them into advertisements. Use the conversion objection to your advantage. And I’m paying for Facebook advertisements to drive traffic to my product pages at a snail’s pace. In order to get clients, the concept is to As a result, I will be breaking even since I have a limited budget, to begin with.
In the meanwhile, I’m working on my owned media plan, which is a continuation of the previous point. To do this, I must send at least one email each week, ideally using Klaviyo rather than Mailchimp, pushing the subscription box, and have a whole flow created to automate half of my email marketing operation.
8/ Continue to expand your reach with paid, earned, and owned media. The moment has come, though, to become geeky and multiply all of the numbers by three. It is the amount of money it costs me to acquire a newsletter subscriber.
9/ After a few months, I’ll need to pay attention to how long the typical client remains a subscriber and how many people cancel their subscriptions each month. Given that this is the foundation of the company model, it is vitally important that you get it correctly the first time.