Interest in subscription boxes has grown dramatically over the last few years, and they can be a great option for entrepreneurs to launch a focused product with recurring customers. With boxes in all industries — makeup, coffee, and pet products, just to name a few — the possibilities are practically endless. However, you’re here because you want to know how to start a website. Some businesses add on a subscription box feature to their existing website, but you’re looking to start, create, and launch your own website. It involves a lot more work, but can really pay off if you make choices that are right for your business, and you’ll have an incredible subscription box website design in no time.
First, we’ll go through your options for creating your subscription box website, and then what you’ll need to do before you launch. Let’s dive in.
Subscription Box Basics
There are three main reasons a customer orders a subscription box: to save them time, for convenience, or for fun. The first step to starting your subscription box is to pick your niche and your reason for existing! Are you going to save your customers time, like Hello Fresh, by delivering food to their door? Are you going to add convenience to their life, like Dollar Shave Club, by providing something they need but won’t have to take the time out of their day to remember anymore? Or are you going to wow them and create a fun experience, like FabFitFun, by sending them things they’ll enjoy?
However, once you have that side worked out, you can start creating your site, and then get ready to launch! Let’s go over a few of the options you have for creating your subscription box website design, along with some things to keep in mind before, during, and after the launch phase.
Creating Your Subscription Box Website
The next step is to research your competitors within the same niche. If you’re not the first to the scene, it’s okay, but you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to differentiate yourself. Will you be cheaper? Higher quality? More frequent? Only you can decide that. There are a lot of things to consider on the business side of starting your subscription eCommerce business.
When creating your subscription box website design, you have a few options to choose from. Each option has benefits and drawbacks, including cost, functionality, and features. It will be up to you to decide which is the best fit for your business. Let’s get into your three main options.
All-in-One Marketplace for Subscription Box Website Design
Build it and they will come, as the saying goes — and if enough entrepreneurs are selling subscription boxes, it makes sense to build a platform they can sell on. Enter the two big names in the subscription box marketplace arena: CrateJoy and Subbly. These platforms make it a breeze to create a subscription box website design all in one place.
The basic setup of these platforms is that you pay a monthly subscription to them to get access to their entire lineup of tools, which are all geared to subscription box businesses. You can do everything through their site, and everything they do is focused on the subscription box model, meaning it’s a lot less work.
The other upside to this option is access to their marketplace. All other subscription box companies publish their boxes on the marketplace, and customers come to browse the marketplace to find new boxes to subscribe to. Did somebody say warm leads? Every business’s dream come true.
Of course, this option is not without downsides. In addition to the potentially high cost of the monthly subscription, you’ll also encounter a transaction fee on each sale. The options for your site are also extremely simplified and generally hard to customize, and you’ll find a lack of features you would find on higher-quality templates, like the ability to upsell and cross-sell.
Overall, selling on a marketplace like Cratejoy or Subbly can be a great way to get started fast and have a ton of tailored tools specifically for subscription box website design and selling at your disposal, but the drawbacks will be the long-term cost and the lack of individuality.
You may decide you don’t necessarily want to be on a marketplace that’s all about subscription boxes, but you also still want an all-in-one experience. In most cases, if you choose eCommerce platforms, you will have to learn to code. Also, it will take some technical know-how and research to implement any changes. The other downside to an option like this is that you’ll have to piece together a lot of different tools from the app library. Again, it’s not specific to subscription boxes, so you’ll have to find the tools that work for you — cancellations, returns, and regular billing are the big ones.
Finally, you’ll lose the benefit of being in the marketplace. Having warm leads can be a huge draw for businesses, and there’s no doubt that customers who browse a marketplace specifically for subscription boxes are ready to buy.
Website Template for Best Subscription Box Website Design
Using a website template for your subscription box website design can be a great option for when you want something that is unique, costs less in the long term and doesn’t require much technical know-how. There is a ton of variety within website templates, and they range from free to hundreds of dollars. Of course, free templates will be less complex and unique than paid templates, but they can be a good option to save money in the beginning.
On the other hand, a high-quality template will cost more money in the short term but can be more than worth it. It will help you stand out, and you won’t be locked into any long-term cost with a monthly subscription or fee. There are a lot more opportunities to customize, and you’ll get complete flexibility with the tools you choose to use.
The downside, aside from the higher upfront cost, is that you’ll need to know how to use a hosting service and integrate other software you’ll need to run the site. This is similar to the choice you’ll face with an eCommerce platform, except that you’ll get to choose from any software you want, instead of being limited to the ones that the platform offers. With a site like MotoCMS, once you buy the template and go through the easy setup, you then need to choose your perfect hosting provider.
The other downside is, again, the lack of warm leads of the subscription box marketplace. When starting out on your own, you’ll not only need to do the work to find the tools that will work for you, but you’ll need to do all your own marketing and outreach as well. However, the added flexibility can make the tradeoff worth it.
Subscription Box Website Design Tips
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing and creating your subscription box website design. A site is going to be a bit different from a traditional eCommerce website in design, features, and function. Let’s go through those differences.
Keeping It Simple
Part of the appeal of a subscription box is the simplicity — sign up, get cool stuff once a month or once a quarter. That’s it! Your website should reflect that mentality. You can have a few different options for your customers to choose from, but the overall design should be simple and straightforward.
So many shoppers are using their phones and tablets to browse that you need to make sure that your website design looks good on all of them. Use a responsive website design to achieve this.
This is not a common problem that eCommerce sites need to tackle, but you’ll need to — and don’t forget to figure out your cancellation policy, either.
Finding out who is buying your products is vital. So, you’ll need to make sure to have a way to collect demographic information and find out your types of online shoppers. You can build this into a preferences quiz, which your customers will be motivated to fill out so that they can get a more targeted box.
Launching Your Website
There are a few more steps you’ll need to take once you have your subscription box website design nailed down. It’s a long journey to the launch phase, but it’s well worth it! Let’s talk about launching your website.
Pre-Launch of Subscription Box Website Design
You’ve done all the hard work of building your website, and your first box is created and just about ready to go — but wait, don’t launch yet! Consider some pre-launch steps. It will help immensely if you can gauge the kind of interest you have in your box, so start creating some buzz, and most importantly, collecting some emails. Drum up interest on social media, hype up your newsletter, and give subscribers some sort of incentive for signing up, like a discount code or early access. It’ll help you accurately order inventory and also get a boost in your base of subscribers.
Marketing Your Subscription Box Website
Once you launch, you’ll need to get the word out there. Here are some ideas for how to do that.
Do some research on the influencers in your niche to use influencer marketing to the best advantage. You can look for either influencer who specializes in product reviews or who have a brand that is compatible with yours. You can try sponsoring some of their content, paying to have them feature your box, or even sending it to them for free and hoping they talk about it with their subscribers.
Incentivize Your Followers
The followers you already have are likely pretty invested already, so incentivize them to do some word-of-mouth marketing for you. You can easily provide some sort of coupon or discount on their next box in exchange for posting about your product, or you could even just make a habit of featuring high-quality posts about your box. Make social media a symbiotic relationship with your followers.
We consider Pinterest the sleeper agent of social media marketing — its users are engaged, active, ready to buy, and generally, have a high income, and yet a lot of businesses forget about it. Don’t be one of them! Make sure you’re pinning attractive shots of your products that link back to your website, and see if you can get pinned by users with large boards that aggregate products like yours.
Launch and Enjoy Your Subscription Box Website Design!
You made it through the entire marathon, from creation to launch of your subscription box website. Congrats! That’s a big deal. Once you launch, you can focus on the stuff that it takes to successfully run a business.
Make sure you’re available to answer questions and troubleshoot — you’re bound to run into shipping issues eventually, so make sure you have a plan for that.
Getting feedback from your customers will be vital to making sure you have a successful long-term business, so ask them what they thought! Send them emails and reminders to leave you a review, and figure out how you can apply the feedback to your future boxes.
Take a look at your process and see what you can improve on your end, from vendors to the shipping process.
Subscription Box Website Design – Conclusion
Starting a subscription box website can seem intimidating, but with the right tools on your side, you can create a product that your customers will love receiving every month.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.
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