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How to Start a Subscription Box Business: A Detailed Guide

Ishita Banik Published on : 25 August 2021


Subscription box businesses have gained immense popularity over the past decade. As stated in the recent report by Statista, the monthly expenditure of the U.S. subscribers on food and meal subscription boxes is US$ 74, while the same for clothing & fashion and technology are respectively US$ 64 and US$ 46. Starting from foods to cosmetics- subscription box services have garnered enough attention worldwide for new entrants to opt for this business model. And if you too are planning to leverage this growing demand for subscription boxes, it is the time to chalk out your business plan!


What is a Subscription Box?

Subscription boxes offer the curated sets of products to the consumers based on their preferences and convenience. Such subscription boxes offer flexibility so that the subscribers can choose the frequency of subscription and the products.

Examples of Subscription Boxes

  • Blue Apron’s 2 Serving and 4 serving plans
  • Dollar Shave Club’s starter plan
  • Birchbox’s Monthly Plan, 3 Month Plan, 12 Month Plan
  • Loot Crate’s Loot Gaming, Loot Sci-fi, Wizarding World etc.

And the list is never-ending!


Guide to Start a Subscription Box Business: Simple Steps


1. Outline Your Subscription Boxes Idea

In order to come up with a great subscription box business, you need unique ideas matching your niche. As discussed above, subscription boxes can be adopted as business models on various domains – retail, beauty, clothing, gaming, food etc. Answer the following questions for yourself to get a unique idea –

  • What’s the niche of your business?
  • What will be the offerings in your subscription boxes?
  • What will be your brand voice and personality?
  • What will make your subscription boxes unique among the existing ones in the market?
  • What are your near-future goals for the business?



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2. Decide your Audience

Once you have an idea, you need to define your audience. Their age group, location, preferences, interests, professions etc. and what your products aim for. For instance, if you are opening a beauty subscription box business, be clear about which subscription box is targeted to which age range, gender, skin type etc. Similarly, if you are planning to open a food subscription box business, you need to have a clear idea about your audience’s demographics, food habits and other preferences to determine the products for various subscription boxes.


3. Know the Competition 

The subscription box business industry is highly competitive. Once you finalize the business type and audience, the next step is knowing the competition. For example, if you are going to open a food subscription box business, list out the main companies that can give you a tough competition. Try to delve deeper into their strategic approaches, business model, growth history, present targets etc. so that you can secure your position amidst the growing number of competitors.


4. Set Up the Pricing Plans

This is one of the most important stages to develop your subscription box business. Not only will different subscription boxes have different pricing plans but you will need a thorough research to come up with the most effective pricing models to optimize your revenue.

It is important to determine the following factors-

  • Product Cost – The cost of the actual products inside each of the subscription boxes.
  • Packaging or Box Cost – The cost of the box or packaging for each of the subscription boxes. The packaging cost for various subscription boxes can be different contributing to the differential pricing plans.
  • Shipping Cost – Cost of shipping for different subscription boxes based on the products, security charges, weight etc.

Apart from these costs, you also need to decide the monthly fixed costs, acquisition costs, transaction & platform fees if any etc.


5. Pre-launch Your Checklist

Pre-launching is the process of marketing your products before actually launching them. This helps invoke the interests among your target audience, create the much needed buzz, collect email sign-ups and also understand the possible response from them. 

A few pointers that can be of your benefits-

  • Duration of the pre-launch – It can be from 5 days to 30 days or even more.
  • Pre-launch template for app or website – Before you pre-launch your subscription boxes, create an attractive pre-launch template for your app or website and connect with the email, SMS, or other notification tools.
  • Social Media Marketing – Market your pre-launched subscription boxes among your target audience in order to create the hype.


Also, pre-launching lets you know about order management, business operations, subscription billing management etc. which help your business in the long run. 


Interesting Facts

  • 40% of the female cosmetic consumers in the U.S. are interested in subscribing to a beauty box, while Birchbox is the most well-known beauty box service (Statista).
  • 75% of the organizations selling direct to consumers will offer subscription services by 2023 (Gartner).
  • The automotive subscription industry is set to surpass US$ 40 Billion by 2026 (Global Market Insights).
  • Pret, the first coffee subscription service of the U.K., was started amidst the pandemic.


Wrapping Up,

Starting a subscription-box business involves several stages as discussed above, and one of the things which matters the most is the subscription billing system of your business. Be it implementing multiple monetization models or managing several subscriptions – such billing systems let you handle all effortlessly. Not only you get to change, modify or manage multiple subscription plans easily with such a billing system but your customers also get to upgrade, downgrade, pause or take other actions through the self service portals. Besides, it gets much easier to keep track of the timely payments, handle delayed payments, setting taxes and add-ons like coupons, discounts, vouchers etc.


Muvi Billing is one of its kind of subscription billing system for your apps and websites that integrates easily, and offers 40+ payment gateways, multiple monetization models, differential tax implementation, smart record keeping, multi-currency, analytics & insights, and many more!


Take a 14-day free trial today to know more (no credit card needed)!


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Written by: Ishita Banik

Ishita is a Content Writer with Muvi Marketing Team. Apart from business writing, she is also an acclaimed author of three best seller romantic thriller novels. In 2020, she got featured in The Hindustan Times, a leading news portal as an inspirational Indian author.

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