How to Organise Shipping for a UK Subscription Box Service

UK subscription box services have been around for a while, but they only really started gaining traction in recent years. With brands like Dollar Shave Club, Craft Gin Club and BirchBox leading the way, now anyone can get started in this exciting industry.

If you have a great idea for a UK subscription box business, you might be wondering how best to organise the shipping process.

The good news is that modern technology makes it easy with online software that does much of the work for you. But there’s still a lot to consider before you start promoting your subscription box options.

Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Get the Right Software

At one time, organising orders and deliveries meant relying on extensive paper files and bewildering physical spreadsheets. Thanks to automation and the internet, however, many of your business’s processes can now be done online.

To start your subscription service, you’ll need a platform that can keep track of customer information, shipping carriers, and orders. But this is just scratching the surface. The more services you can get bundled in one program, the better.

SmartConsign’s delivery management services make organising lots of orders and deliveries simple with label printing, bulk batch processing, and more.

SmartConsign RapidX Batch Processing Screen

Choose the Best Carriers

When you’re sending physical goods to customers, providing the right shipping options is key.

Your customers may prefer to have the Royal Mail service deliver their orders, or they might prefer international carriers like UPS or DHL. Most of the time, they’ll want the most affordable shipping method possible. So having options is key.

SmartConsign works with just about every major carrier in the UK and offers prepaid shipping options. You can even access key shipping features through its mobile app.

Get the Right Packaging

When it comes to selling subscription boxes, you don’t want the box itself to be an afterthought. From choosing the right size to finding a shape that will hold your items secure, packaging is a critical part of your business.

You especially don’t want to send boxes that are too large, or you’ll waste money on packing materials and shipping fees. Shop around and experiment to find the ideal type of packaging for your products.

Engineer the Best Presentation

One of the most important moments for your customer is when they open your subscription box for the first time.

Make sure the moment isn’t spoiled for them by packing items securely and setting up each parcel for a great first impression.

Start Your UK Subscription Box Business With SmartConsign

And there you have it: everything you need to know about organising shipping for your very own subscription box brand.

Managing deliveries is probably the single most complicated part of running a subscription box business. Fortunately, with a platform like SmartConsign, it doesn’t have to be.

Request a demo to see how our software can simplify your subscription box service options.

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