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Bob the Box hands out diplomas to all the best subscription boxes, who are in the shape of box unicorns.

What the Best Subscription Boxes Have in Common

Subscription boxes are in vogue. More and more, ecommerce entrepreneurs are stepping outside the boundaries of dropshipping and instead sourcing suppliers who can contribute items to a branded subscription experience.

From fashion and makeup to dog accessories, video games, shaving supplies, watches, and everything in between, you can find a great subscription box for almost every theme.

With so much variety, you might be asking yourself, “I’d really love to get into subscription boxes, but I don’t know where to start.”

To address that concern, we over at ShipMonk recommend that you check out the six traits that the very best subscription boxes have in common. Let’s check them out:

  1. A Coherent Theme

It’s not uncommon to find a dropshipping store that sells items as varied as discount jewelry and camping supplies. But if you’re setting up a subscription box, you want to ensure that you are putting together a clear and coherent theme.

Subscription boxes like Cat Lady Box offer not only cat treats and toys, but also fashion accessories and clothing items that cater specifically to — you guessed it — cat ladies. Thematically, every item in the box every month fits with this promise without exception.

CatLadyBox shows how the best subscription boxes have a coherent theme, like cats.

  1. An Obvious Customer Base

One of the first things you should do when considering starting a subscription box is ask yourself, “Who would buy this?” If you answer either “I don’t know” or “everyone”, it’s time to re-evaluate your idea.

Like most things in ecommerce, you will do best when you focus your energies on a specific demographic. Boxes like Bark Box target a specific audience — people who own dogs. This audience is at the forefront of their marketing campaign — by targeting websites that deal with dogs, adoption, pet care, etc., they can be sure that their advertising dollars are going to customers who may in fact want to subscribe to their product.

BarkBox shows how the best subscription boxes have an obvious customer base, like people with dogs.

  1. An Easy-To-Use Shopping Cart

One thing you cannot afford to do is have your customers back out from their subscription at the last minute or make it too difficult for them to find out how to subscribe to your product. If you check out services like Birchbox, you’ll see just how easy it is to subscribe.

Central to this ease of use is an excellent shopping cart service. Cratejoy is well known in the industry as a way to set up a subscription service. Shopify also facilitates subscription boxes through apps like Recharge and Bold. Every successful subscription box service gets this step right.

Cratejoy shows how the best subscription boxes have an easy-to-use shopping cart.

  1. Products Curated and Presented with Intention

When you subscribe to Watch Gang, everything about your experience brims with intent. From the product to the presentation, it seems that the team at Watch Gang labored extensively and made conscious decisions that result in a well-designed and well-curated watch.

Successful subscription boxes ensure that every item that they source is up to their standard. This means receiving prototypes from manufacturers, evaluating chosen products for quality, and ensuring that every product in any given box works with each other to create a complementary experience. But the experience doesn’t stop there. The very best subscription boxes all include a branded, memorable unboxing experience. A subscription box is like a gift — you want to make sure that your customers feel like they get to experience Christmas once a month.

Watch Gang shows that the best subscription boxes have products curated and presented with intention, like their stunning watches.

  1. A Consistent Schedule

It doesn’t matter if you are offering a monthly-replenishment subscription like Dollar Shave Club or a monthly curated themed box like The Calm Box, you want to make sure that you have your subscription box running like clockwork.

If your customers come to expect a box on the 20th of every month, as long as the 20th falls on a business day, don’t let your customers down! The very best subscription boxes all stick to a schedule, so their customers can know when their next shipment will arrive.

All the best subscription boxes have a consistent schedule, like this box that ships goodies once a month.

  1. A Fantastic Fulfillment Team

Sticking to a schedule, managing your subscriber list, storing your thousands of inventory items, assembling the boxes, packaging the boxes, labeling them, and then shipping them all out… that sounds like a ton of work, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, almost without exception, most subscription boxes don’t even have to worry about any of that, because they work with top-flight 3PL ecommerce fulfillment partners.

When you work with a fantastic fulfillment team, you’ll be able to dedicate your time to the two most important aspects of the business: sourcing appropriate products and growing your customer base.

You should spend time looking for the best fulfillment center that meets your needs and answers all your questions.

Good luck out there!

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