I frequently get emails from newly formed subscription box companies asking for advice and tips on creating a successful business. I thought it might good to write down a few key foundations I believe make a subscription company successful. To help me with this article, I reached out to fellow subscription box addicts and Richard Annington of Bondi New York for his own take on what it means to have a successful subscription service or any business.
Transparency and Honesty
Customers are generally more understanding than some businesses may give think. New and established companies alike face challenges everyday and as customers and working people, we understand things will not always go smoothly. What makes customers unhappy is when a company either does not admit any temporary hold backs or tries to cover them. Annington notes, “Too many business owners [...] treat customers like mushrooms – keep them in the dark and feed them sh*t.” Let’s be honest here, we all know this is the sad truth with many companies and customers are smart enough to know when the wool is being pulled over their eyes. A little bit of truth goes a long way.
One of the most apparent issues with many companies is the lack of consistency in their monthly boxes and more importantly, their customer service. A quick search through online forums and Facebook groups dedicated to subscription boxes will tell you that some companies have wide variations in the products and values of boxes shipped to customers in the same month. You will also see some people have amazing responses and service from the company, while others deal with representatives who are not fully knowledgeable on company policies and are oftentimes rude.
A good company should be consistent in what they provide customers. If you run out of a product, let customers know ahead of time and do your best to compensate in the total value of the box. Work on training and refresher courses for customer service representatives; every interaction with the company should be the same for each customer every time.
As noted earlier, consistent customer service is essential to a successful subscription box company. Consistency means nothing if the service is consistently awful. Richard Anington of Bondi New York recommends “making sure your staff are comprehensively trained and are given the flexibility to make decisions without needing to run it up the management line for approval” he adds, “I do regular refresher training on appropriate language, tone of voice and delivering on promises.”
No one is more of an expert on subscription boxes and how to make them better than the customer. Every customer knows what they want in a good subscription service. All you need to do is listen because they are literally giving you the answers to the test. True, there will always be differences in what customers want and you won’t be able to make everyone happy, but you will get close to it if you take the time to notice what your customers are saying and learn how to implement their suggestions in your business model.
Quality Over Quantity
Some start-up companies tend to look at subscription boxes that offer extremely high values compared to the cost of the box and shy away from more aggressive marketing, and even from the offer for a review in fear they may be looked down upon for not being able to have the same value in their subscription. On the other end of the scope, I see companies fill their boxes with inexpensive products, coupons and gift cards and claim their values are astronomically high.
The truth is, the true value of a great subscription box lies not within the retail value of the box, but the thoughtfulness and curation of the box. I would rather see a box that value just at the cost of the box, or even a few dollars under if the products matched the overall purpose and goal of the company. I want to see a box that blends the soul of the company with fun and functionality. I know not everyone thinks this way, but trust me, if you focus on quality and incorporate the other points mentioned above, you will steadily gain long-term customers who will see the value of your brand.
I understand most points mentioned may seem obvious, but it is truly surprising how few companies actually follow these suggestions. It is easy to which companies do, and those who struggle with these concepts. The reality is, like many things in life, it is easier said than done. I listed the top 5 companies I feel that truly embody the principles I’ve laid forth and what makes them stand out from the crowd. I highly recommend trying them out for yourself!
The Top 5 Best Subscription Box Companies (In No Particular Order)
Bondi New York – In my opinion, Richard is one of the best examples of what it takes to have a thriving and successful business. His hands-on attitude and open-book policy make it easy to fall head over heels with his company. Response times are fast, even on the weekend and the company is incredibly accommodating for their customer’s needs. I do not even have to mention the incredible 5-free formula. (You can read my past Bondi New York reviews here)
Vegan Presence – Andrea’s care and thoughtfulness is the most apparent aspect of her vegan subscription box. Not only does she take the time to discover companies that are completely cruelty-free, but she also finds the most sustainable sources for her products all while creating a delightful experience in each monthly package. (You can read my pas Vegan Presence reviews here)
Wantable – What I love about Wantable is that you can consistently expect fast shipping and even faster responses from the company. I never had to wait 24 hours for a response form the company and always received boxes within three days of shipment. What really strikes me is that they really listen to your preferences. Their personalized boxes are unsurpassed and on the odd time you are ever unhappy with your box, returning it and getting your money back is simple and they also take note to make your next box even better. (You can read my past Wantable reviews here)
Door to Door Organics – Not your typical subscription, Door to Door Organics delivers organic product to your door weekly. They are still a company you can set your watch to in regards to their shipping (which is done directly from their own trucks and employees to your door). They are also one of the best companies in regards to listening to their customers and continuously add more products to their shop based solely on customer feedback. Door to Door Organics also takes transparency seriously and send out notices regarding any changes well in advance. (You can read my past Door to Door Organics reviews here)
Graze – Graze is perhaps one of the most sought out subscriptions in America due to the scarcity of invitations to this members-only subscription. What makes Graze so unique, however, is the ability to regularly change your delivery date and the ability to rate snacks in their inventory to be sure you never receive anything you do not like or which you are allergic. The company is very interactive with their customers and are always listening to suggestions. (You can read my past Graze reviews here)
As a consumer and follow subscription box addict, what do you think it takes to create a successful subscription box service? Business owners, what are your insights on the matter?
Follow me on: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Bloglovin Instagram