Food and beverage subscription boxes have become commonplace in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. The likes of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have proved there’s a customer base who is hungry (pun intended!) for this kind of service.
If you’re thinking about starting your own food or beverage subscription box, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Pickling and fermenting
Love them or loathe them, there are some people out there who are seriously into their pickles. Not to mention, and we’re going to get stereotypical here, pregnant people with their cravings. Whether it’s kimchi, cucumbers, sauerkraut or even eggs, pickling subscription boxes could be the next big thing!
Is there anything worse than heading to the cabinet, mid-cooking, to find you’ve run out of your favorite spice? Starting a spice subscription box can be a lovely way to encourage people to use different flavors and try new things. Accompany the spices with a suggested recipe so your customers can really discover flavors from around the world!
3. Coffee and tea
While there is quite a bit of competition out there already for coffee subscription boxes, combining coffee and tea together could be your money ticket. With so many coffee options out there in terms of strength and flavor, and of course, the infinite number of tea choices, it’s a nice way to open people’s palettes to new tastes. Of course, do your research – the big names like Starbucks are already on the circuit.
4. Wine, beer and cocktails
The first thing to remember here is that there are stringent rules when it comes to alcohol. (Our advice is that it’s best to partner with an existing distributor.) While wine clubs have been around for decades, we’re waiting to see quite as many for beer, cider or cocktails. Perhaps it could be your subscription box?
The chocolate businesses out there should definitely consider a subscription service. It’s a great way to connect with your existing customers and encourage new customers to come on board. Who wouldn’t love some chocolate delivered to their door every month?
How to start a subscription box
There are several things you need to consider before you even get started on your subscription box journey. First, do your research on current offerings in the subscription space. Is there already a box that covers your niche? And if so, does it work? How can you make yours unique?
Once you’ve decided that you’re definitely going for it, you’ll need to make sure there is an existing community around the category or product. If there’s an existing community, it will be a whole lot easier to market your box to potential customers.
It’s also important that your idea has longevity. Boxes with longevity tend to involve discovery, habit, emotional or lifestyle value or gifting potential. Having some of these qualities will help you succeed.
In terms of starting, here are 5 tips:
- Price your product properly. People aren’t going to sign up if your box is too expensive. But on the flip side, making your box too cheap in order to stay competitive means you won’t actually make a profit. There are some handy calculators you can use to figure out what your price point should be.
- Choose the size and weight of your box carefully. Remember, while small boxes are more affordable and easier to ship, you won’t be able to fit as many products in it.
- Figure out your strategy for sourcing your products. In order to remain sustainable and profitable, you’re going to need to speak to wholesalers. Here’s a list of other places to source products.
- Get feedback for your box. Use your family and friends as your test dummies in order to validate your idea. Give them a prototype box and ask them for honest and constructive feedback.
- Photographs are king. Ensuring you get quality photographs taken is key. Use these on your website, marketplaces and on social media. Customers are more likely to trust the quality of the box if the images are top notch.
Looking for a good photographer? Take a look at Cratejoy’s recommended photographers for an exclusive photo package deal, just for Cratejoy merchants.
Why get started in the subscription box business?
It’s the question most first-timers ask themselves: why do I want to be in this business? Well, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Turning your hobby into a profitable business is a wonderful way to really enjoy your work.
Not only that, but if it doesn’t become your full-time gig, it’s still a fun way to make some extra cash. It also provides a lot of flexibility – you can work whenever and wherever you want. Even better? You know those wholesale benefits you’re receiving because you have a business license? While you’re passing them onto your customers, you can reap the rewards too. (Awesome!)
When it comes specifically to food and beverage subscription boxes, there’s a lot of benefits to starting one. The main one, of course, is that you get to share your passion with the world. And a world with a little extra spice is always a good thing.