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Sending Smiles: How to Start a Successful Subscription Box Service

Tyler Horvath
Tyler Horvath

So you just had an idea for the next biggest subscription box service that is going to disrupt the industry, but now what do you do?

Where do you get products? How do you find customers? In this article, I am going to explain how to create and start a successful subscription box service without spending a ton of money.

Test the Market

So you think you have the next successful subscription box service? Well, you must test the market and make sure it really can be successful. This means testing the waters to see if anyone shows any interest in your subscription box.

There are tons of ways that you can go about doing this, but the best way to do it is to sign up for a landing page service like Unbounce and setting up a page that shows your new subscription box and what it is. Make sure your landing page features a lead form for people to enter their name and email if they are interested.

If you are looking for the totally free option and know how to build websites, you can create a custom page yourself that features a form that submits to a database or email account. Give as much information as possible about your box because it will show you how many people are truly interested in your product.

Make sure you show what’s going to go in the box, the price, and other important details that someone would want to know if they really were singing up for your box. Once you get your page ready, it’s time to send some users to it and see if there is any interest.

Related Article: Industries That Take Full Advantage of the Subscription Business Model

Gather Leads

So you have your landing page showing in detail, your new subscription box service, but how do you get traffic to it? Gathering leads is usually not free but its way cheaper than starting a subscription box service or business without knowing if there is a market for it. This way, you can spend a little bit of money and not risk losing a lot.

One great method to gather leads for your subscription box is Facebook. You could spend only a few hundred dollars to see if your subscription box could work. Simply create Facebook ads to your landing page and see how many people sign up. If you are a Facebook marketing pro, you can use Facebook Lead ads to gather leads without even having the user leave Facebook.

If you have spent a couple hundred dollars and no one has signed up on your landing page, then there is probably no market for your subscription box, and you should move on to a new idea.


So you started gathering tons of great leads of users who are interested in possibly signing up to your new subscription box, now what? Curating your leads keeps them up-to-date and interested in signing up for your subscription box when you launch. The curation period is the time when you start really creating your box while at the same time gathering more leads and keeping them interested and excited about your subscription box.

The curation and building process can go hand-in-hand. Snapping some pics of some of the products that are going into your box or even pictures of designs of your new subscription box will keep your leads on the line for when you launch. Send an email every week or two with sneak peeks of what is going to go inside and reminding your leads about the launch.

Another great way to curate leads is to create a contest. Give away a free lifetime subscription of your box to the lead who shares the landing page the most. This can get you even more leads for free, as well as keep the interest of your current leads.

Related Article: Driving Growth: How to Take Advantage of Trends That Boost E-commerce Sales

Build your Box

Now you know there’s a market for your subscription box and you also have a ton of leads who are interested in signing up when you launch. It’s time to build your box.

The first thing you want to do is decide what’s going to go inside your box. This should give you an idea of what kind of size box you need. If you are going to be putting larger items in your box, you may think about getting a larger box. Most subscription boxes are around 12 inches wide, three inches tall, and 10 inches long.

So how do you get products to put inside your box? Surprisingly, most companies will give you these products for free. Simply contact all the companies that have products you would like to put in your box. Tell them that you started a subscription box service and would like to feature their product in your box. Many companies are more than willing to send you free stuff because it's great promotion for them.

You should try and keep your products around five to seven items. They should be great products that show value in your box. Another important piece to figure it is pricing. How much is your subscription box going to cost a month? Three months? Six months? One year?

Your pricing should be similar to competitors and it should be less than the value of products in your box. Most subscription box customers will figure out the retail value of the items in the box, and if your box costs more than your products are worth, you won’t last long. The last thing to do is to design your box. If you are not a whiz in product design, there are some great services where you can design custom boxes online with your colors and logo. Some great websites where you can create custom boxes is Pakible and PackLane.

Related Article: Opening the Flood Gates: The Steps to Expanding Your Revenue Sources


So now you have a ton of curated leads, a custom box, and products to fill your box with. It’s time to launch.

You must first find a way to accept credit cards, manage customers, manage shipments and other business functions. The easiest way to do this is to sign up to CrateJoy, which is a service specifically designed for this. They allow you to create your subscription box service E-commerce site so you can take orders, manage customers, and manage shipments.

You can also create your own custom subscription box website, but this will cost you a lot more in development costs. You will also need to find your own 3rd party credit card processor like Once you have designed your website and it's fully ready to accept credit cards and customers, it’s time to turn your store to live mode.

Send a mass email to all your curated leads that you have launched and start watching the orders come in. You want to make sure you have enough boxes ready to ship out to your first initial customers so you are sure to get good subscription box reviews

After your first initial customers get their box, it’s important to reach out and see what they do like and don’t like about your box. Use this information to make your box even better for the next month. Repeat this process and you will have a very successful subscription box service.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Tyler Horvath
Tyler Horvath Member
Tyler Horvath is the CEO of @tytonmedia and avid serial webpreneur