Strategies for scaling a subscription box business

Subscription boxes are proving to be the winning formulae for retailers adapting to a digitally mature audience. It is a rapidly growing market, with UK buyers spending an average of £2 billion on subscription box services every year. In a recent GoodFirms global survey, close to 83% of people have 1-3 subscription boxes.

There are several benefits associated with subscription box retailing. The most attractive ones are recurring revenue and the potential to increase customer spend.

With improved technology and automation, subscription retailing is becoming even more accessible and convenient for consumers to get their desired products. The challenge for retailers is to fulfil their customer promise and scale profitably. Here are a few strategies to consider:

Automate Your Shipping
Unlike general online retailing, subscription customers care less about fast delivery and more about convenience. Customers expect their boxes in the promised delivery window, with as little friction as possible. However, processing thousands of orders can be challenging; CSV file transfer errors and data anomalies are common occurrences. Often manual intervention is required to fix the issues, requiring extra people-hours, which squeezes margins.

Brands like the award-winning Craft Gin Club have responded to this problem by using systems that automate bulk batch processing at scale. Legacy systems can take up to 14 hours to process shipping labels. Whereas, more advanced solutions like SmartConsign RapidX can handle 100K+ consignments in just 1 hour.

Craft Gin Club strategy is efficient and effective. By automating label processing, they save on shipping costs and people-hours and hit cut-off times much later.

Multi-Carrier Approach
In the increasingly crowded UK subscription box market, one way to remain ahead is to make deliveries as seamless as possible. Accessing a wider choice of carriers is an effective strategy.
Multi-carrier management software enables bulk label printing and a host of innovative shipping features. You don’t have to worry about printing individual labels for each carrier; most advanced systems offer universal label printing functionality. Furthermore, with all your carriers in one place, you can compare performance, automate shipping rules, and much more.
A multi-carrier management strategy enables subscription businesses to control their shipping whilst protecting margins. The best solutions do not require the carrier to pay a fee for integration. As a result, the carrier data you access is unbiased, enabling better decision making.

Mitigate Churn
Despite all the attractive benefits of subscription retailing, retaining customers is a crucial pain point many retailers face. The latest data shows that only 1 in ten subscribers are retained beyond 12 months or more. Whether it’s beauty subscription boxes, craft beers, or coffee box; ensuring the delivery of a positive end-to-end customer experience is vital to success.

As observed across multiple eCommerce industries. Giving customers the ability to control their transactions such as cancellations, purchasing add-ons or even shipping is crucial.
These are all touch-points that equate to a satisfactory customer experience. Why? Because today’s customers with a smartphone in hand expect to access information about their orders instantly.

Automating your shipping process using carrier management software allows you access to rich data about your shipment. Helping to reduce WISMO’s whilst ensuring your customer service teams have the necessary data to support your customers proactively.

You may not ultimately reduce customer churn. But you can mitigate the risk by paying attention to the delivery experience and perhaps even earn valuable positive reviews.

Take your subscription business to new levels with SmartConsign.
With the retail subscription market continuing to grow there is plenty more room for new entrants. One way to remain ahead of the curve is to make the shipping process an integral part of your operation.

SmartConsign RapidX was designed in collaboration with BirchBox UK and offers the fastest bulk batch processing solution in the market. To talk to our shipping automation experts, email