Since their burst onto the scene in 2010, subscription box companies have grown steadily to become a huge part of the way consumers shop online. Whether the box is filled with daily necessities like toothpaste or exotic Korean skincare, monthly shipments of uniquely curated products have excited online shoppers around the world.
The popularity of subscription box businesses has created a burgeoning industry of more than 2,000+ subscription entrepreneurs that are racing to become the next Birchbox or Ipsy. Subscription box fulfillment comes with its own unique set of problems, specifically logistical and sourcing problems. Once your orders start to scale, it can become increasingly difficult to stay on top of inventory and your shipping schedules without the help of a solid fulfillment partner. At SnapShip, we have put together some helpful tips for any subscription company looking to outsource or change their fulfillment. When looking for a trustworthy 3PL, don’t forget to keep an eye out for these key features!
The first trait to look for in an excellent subscription box fulfillment partner is the ability to quickly make changes at scale should your product or subscriber count change suddenly. The great thing about subscription services is that they have a steady and reliable shipping schedule, but sourcing your products is a whole different story. Unless you deal with a consistent supplier, your products will vary from month to month which can cause changes in the pick/pack process of your fulfillment partner. Finding a 3PL that is flexible enough to accommodate these changes and acts proactively to get out in front of them can take your subscription business to the next level.
Subscription box businesses can fall flat just as fast as they take off. A huge surge in popularity one month can turn into a wave of cancellations the next month without careful planning and a strong, memorable brand. A true fulfillment partner will work closely with you to ensure that the proper steps are in place to prevent this from happening. You want to work with a 3PL that is invested in the longevity of your company and demonstrates this by working collaboratively and reacting quickly when your business is faced with an issue. As your products change each month, it is necessary to work with your fulfillment partner to anticipate any roadblocks that may come up for that month’s subscription. The less issues your customers faces, the more likely they are to continue to be a subscriber, which makes everyone happy!
Custom packaging plays a crucial role in the customer experience. The addition of custom or branded assets lends a luxurious feel to any product and can increase the customer’s connection with the brand after a purchase. This emotional connection is the goal of every single brand, but specifically for ecommerce brands. When building out a subscription box company, finding a fulfillment partner that will scope out and source custom packaging can be an enormous asset for your business. Not only will it improve your brand’s image, but leveraging a 3PL’s relationships with packaging suppliers can end up saving you some serious cash. There are several subscription box fulfillment companies out there who will source everything you need for your shipments, but this can result in an end product that looks like every other box on the market. Working closely with a 3PL to design and source high-quality branded assets within your budget may be just what you need to create a huge surge in subscribers!
The subscription box segment of the ecommerce industry has become incredibly competitive and new players are doing whatever they can to stick out from the crowd. Successful brands know that aligning with a specialized fulfillment partner is the best way to stay on top of your orders, so you can focus on growing subscribers. Make sure your 3PL is responsive, flexible, and built to support the evolving nature of the subscription box industry.
Would love to hear what you think, e-mail me directly at Matt@SnapShip.it