If starting your own subscription box isn’t something you want to do, but you’re intrigued by the overall idea, there is an easier route you can take. As a brand owner, you are most likely consistently looking for ways to get your products in front of new customers and share your brand story with as many people as possible. One fresh way to do so is to get your products into monthly subscription boxes. These days, it seems like you can order monthly subscription boxes for just about anything from pet products, health and beauty products, clothing, to food and beverage products.
An overview of the subscription box industry
Subscription or curated boxes (aka “subboxes”) have been around since the early 2000s. Today, thousands of subscription box services exist, but perhaps some of the most well-known companies are FabFitFun, Birchbox, Hello Fresh, BarkBox, and Dollar Shave Club. In the past few years, the subscription box market reached new heights in 2021, projecting more than $15 billion in sales.
How to get your products into retailer subscription boxes
Before you do anything, you want to ensure that your product would fit well within the curated box industry. There must be a continuous demand for your product, as the subscription box company will want customers to have a recurring need. Subscription box categories that usually meet these criteria include food and beverage, arts and culture, fashion and beauty, health and fitness, and pet supply. And, recognizing that there are probably many others out there with the same product offerings is a step in the right direction.
The build-your-own snack box company, SnackMagic, differentiates itself by aiming their business towards a broad group of people, such as sending boxes to work offices. Morgan Brod, Merchant Developer at SnackMagic, expresses that she sources brands that have unique, specialty products. Similar to a lot of curated box companies, “We want a product to be something that our customers may not have tried before or wouldn’t usually treat themselves to in their everyday shopping experience,” explains Brod. “Our menu philosophy is built on discovery, and these types of products tend to be created by people with a similar vision.“
What to consider first
Because products featured in subscription boxes will require a recurring need, they shouldn’t be seasonal or based on a short-term sales proposition. Brands will likely need to provide a large number of samples that would be basically given away for free or at a meager cost. And be aware that just having your products featured in monthly subscription boxes is not enough. You will need to make sure that you have a good customer retention strategy in place to attract the consumers who received your products in a subscription box to become returning customers.
When it comes to the specific traits SnackMagic looks for or avoids, they “try not to be too limiting so that everyone can find treats that resonate with their eating habits and tastes,” says Brod. Many subbox companies choose to prioritize products that fit their curation process, customer audience, and add value to their existing menu assortment. They also consider popular industry trends. For example, at SnackMagic they’ve seen a growing trend “towards better-for-you products with recognizable ingredients,” says Brod. And that’s something they consider when choosing products for their monthly boxes.
Here are some best practices to consider when promoting your products to subscription box retailers:
Start a conversation
Reach out to subbox businesses that sell products in your market niche and find out their requirements for suppliers. Getting your products into a subscription box is a great way to promote them to new and different consumer markets. You could offer free samples to subscription box companies or you can find a good wholesale market by selling subscription box products.
“As a buyer and a consumer, I am drawn to colorful packaging with clear and digestible labeling,” explains Brod. “I am also excited about brands that have a unique story and a strong team behind them, as there is an extra level of trust that is innately gained with those products.”
Samples, samples, samples!
Once you connect with a target company, send some free samples as a teaser into your product offerings. Samples can get your products in the hands of buyers or consumers, giving them a chance to evaluate and review your items and spread the word.
Are you interested in submitting your brand to buyers? RangeMe has several subscription box retailers like FabFitFun, SnackMagic, and Zulilly, who use our platform to run sourcing campaigns, attend ECRM virtual meetings, and manage their ongoing submissions at a category level.
Show them what ya got
If you have a web presence, highlight the appeal of your products specifically for subscription boxes and most importantly, highlight how your brand values align with theirs. Use advertising, public relations, and marketing to make your brand known through various media sources. Be everywhere these retail buyers look and position your brand as the perfect choice when subboxes want to refill or add new products to their offerings. Being top of mind will have a substantial effect when you present your product to buyers or trade shows in the future.
Dropshipping services could get you ahead of any supplier competitors. When you offer to drop ship products, you warehouse the products so the subscription box company doesn’t have to purchase inventory until you ship the orders. This is enticing because subboxes only pay for the products that go into their subscription boxes and don’t have to put down money upfront.
Looking for a shipping partner to help set up your drop-ship capabilities? Explore trusted shipping providers in RangeMe Services here.
Parting advice from Snackmagic
Brand partners are the backbone of what subscription box retailers do. It’s not only about finding brands and products they want to partner with; it has to make sense on the supplier’s end as well. SnackMagic understands that they might not be the perfect fit for every brand but continue to work endlessly to seek out and connect with suppliers that share their menu, philosophy, and vision.
“A mutually beneficial partnership allows us to build strong relationships with our suppliers, one we think doesn’t exist cohesively across the CPG world. We are extremely transparent and communicative when first introducing SnackMagic to a potential supplier and would encourage our brand partners to question any company who isn’t.”Morgan Brod, Merchant Developer, SnackMagic
Overall, partnering with a subscription box company is a significant commitment with a lot of opportunities, so do your research and be transparent with your values and visions. For companies like SnackMagic, RangeMe has been an excellent outlet to connect with a vast network of brands.