One of the best ways to make money with an online business in the 21st Century is by offering subscription services to the masses. Subscription box companies like Birchbiox and the Dollar Shave Club are hugely popular right now, and although the market is booming, there is still room for other entrepreneurs to grab a slice of the pie.
If that sounds good to you, here are some tips to help you solve one of the biggest problems of subscription business success: sourcing your products:
Paid or Free?
The first thing you need to do is work out whether you want to source free products or products that are paid for. Many companies will offer free sample products for inclusion in subscription boxes in return for the free marketing they receive, but these tend to be smaller versions of products. The main benefit of using them is that you have fewer expenses and can potentially make a better profit as a result.
Products you pay for, you have more control over, which means you can offer bigger products and more interesting offerings that you might not be able to get free. Will this attract more customers than smaller free products? You’ll need to do some market research to work it out. Now on to the sourcing…
Local stores are a surprisingly good place to get inspiration fron and purchase the products you would like to include in your boxes. They are good because you can see, touch and test them to work out if they’re worthy of your business, but they can be a more expensive option. If you can’t afford the prices, at least check out your local stores to test the quality.
Trade shows like Gift Fair 2018 are a good place to check out lots of suppliers, get your name out there and do deals. Because you’re meeting the suppliers face-to-face it’s far easier to build up a rapport and negotiate mutually beneficial deals for your subscription service products. It’s also a great place to actually advertise your own company too.
Online wholesalers are pretty easy to find by conducting a simple internet search. The benefits of doing so are that you can find almost any product from anywhere in the world at a price you can afford. However, you need to be careful with the quality – asking for samples is a good idea -before you place a large order.
If you want to fill your subscription boxes with really unique products that have been lovingly handcrafted, the Etsy marketplace is a good place to look. A lot of the creators over there do offer wholesale options and they are often very willing to cut a deal if it means they’ll sell a larger volume and get the extra exposure that your company brings their way.
Get the Vendors to Come to You
This is often best left until your subscription box business is established, but getting vendors to come to you is a good way to find excellent products with minimal effort, and get a good deal on the stuff you include too. How do you get vendors to come to you? Start by having a vendor request form on your website, then take time to publicise your business on as many niche websites as you can, especially the kind of forums and social media pages that commercial vendors are likely to also frequent. Once word spreads, you will have people flocking to you.
Make Your Own
Of course, if you want to have ultimate control over your subscription boxes: if you want to create your own unique brand if you want to elevate your boxes over the competitions, finding a producer who can actually create your products from scratch is an excellent idea Yes, it might take more work and it may be more expensive initially, at least, but you’ll be able to create something unique to you and that will build your business higher than pretty much anything else.
Take your time, source your products carefully and your business is far more likely to succeed than the competitions. You may have to go through a little trial and error before you get it totally right, and you’re sure to make a few mistakes along the way, but it will be worth it when everyone loves your boxes and you become a real online success in your chosen niche. Start small, but think big!