Welcome to Cratejoy’s New Seller Guide! In this guide we’ll be walking through important information to know about launching and starting out with your subscription box business.
At the end of this guide is a link to a list of important articles and other blog posts for new sellers. Read through it at your own pace as you are launching your new business.
Check out our webinar information page to register for upcoming webinars and view recordings of past webinars. The Cratejoy Team regularly hosts webinars on different topics regarding how to improve your subscription box business.
Here we go! Click on any of the links on the below table of contents to go straight to that topic or read through the entire blog. Your choice!
- Launch List
- Listing Setup
- First Sale Overview
- New Seller Info Guide
First things first: you need something to sell! Subscription products are the core piece of any Cratejoy storefront or listing.
Adding your product includes:
- Detailing basic information about the product (name, description, and photos).
- Setting up the renewal and shipping schedule for when the customer can expect to pay for and receive their product.
- Choosing pricing and shipping costs for the product.
- Setting up any prepayment terms, variants, or survey questions, if applicable.
To add a product:
- From your seller account, choose Products from the left side navigation menu.
- Next, click the green Add a Product button in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Fill out all the product details and click the Save button.
- Make sure that you’ve toggled the Product is Visible button (located on the top right hand section of each product page) to show the green check mark if you want your product to be visible.
Payment Processor Setup
Once you set up an account with Cratejoy, we handle your subscriptions, but a payment processor handles your transactions so you can get paid.
The payment processor accepts your customers’ payments from their credit/debit cards, so you can then transfer that money from your payment account to your own bank account.
How should I choose a payment processor?
We recommend Stripe as the best payment processor for most merchants. However, there are a few special use cases you should consider:
Region: If your business is located outside the U.S., check to ensure that Stripe can accept and deposit payments in your preferred countries. (If you’re in one of the few countries that don’t take Stripe, check out Stripe Atlas.)
Business category: Payment processors have their own policies about the types of business or products they support on their business (e.g. some do not support merchants that sell weapons, alcohol, etc). Be sure to check Stripe’s terms and conditions to ensure your category of product is supported.
How to Setup a Payment Processor on Cratejoy
Step 1: Setup an account with Stripe
Cratejoy supports Stripe for your payment processor. We love Stripe because it has low decline rates, works fantastically with recurring payments, and is easy to set up for both you and your customers.
Step 2: Go to the Payment Processor page in your seller account to add your processor. Click the logo for Stripe and you’ll be taken through the easy steps to link up your account to your Cratejoy store.
Shipping Rule Setup
There are two ways that Cratejoy calculates shipping: Product Level Shipping, and Shipping Rules. Product Level Shipping is set at the individual product level (you’ll set this up in the Shipping Option section in each product), while Shipping Rules will apply at the order level based on the country where the shipping address is located.
Product Level Shipping is very straightforward. This method looks at each product that is purchased and applies the product level settings that you have set up. the three ways you can charge at the product level are:
- Automatically calculate (when shipping from the US only)
- Flat rate
Shipping Rules are different because they are based on the country the recipient lives in. They let you calculate the shipping cost and factor in different information about the order including:
- The total price of the products to be shipped
- Total weight of the products to be shipped
- Whether the matching products are subscription products or one-time products
- Where the order was placed from
When would I use product-level shipping?
- When you plan on charging the same amount for a given product, regardless of where it will be shipped
- When you want a shipping charge for every product ordered
When would I use shipping rules?
- When you want to charge different amounts based on the country the order was placed from
- When you want to restrict shipping to certain countries
- When you want to combine certain orders with multiple products into one shipping charge
- When you want to charge shipping differently depending on the type of product (e.g. subscription vs one-time)
International shipping rules will always take priority over product level shipping rules.
So if you have shipping set on your product for $5 as a flat rate, but set an international rule which specifies that all shipments to Canada will be $20, then the shipping price will always be $20 for a Canadian purchase for that product.
How to set up Shipping Rules & Product Level Shipping
Product Level Shipping is set up on the product setup pages (located on the left side menu on your seller account) for each of your subscription and one time products. Learn more here about setting up Product Level Shipping.
There’s lots to learn about shipping rules! Check out these articles on: How Cratejoy Calculates Shipping, Cratejoy Shipping Rules, Product Level Shipping Rates, Customizing International Shipping Rates
Application Integrations for Shipping
This ecommerce shipping software will help you sync and organize Cratejoy packages for shipment, regardless of your preferred shipping carrier. Learn about ShipStation installation here and how ShipStation works through this FAQ.
There are many different applications that integrate with Cratejoy that will make it easier to run your business. We recommend reading this blog post about all the different applications that you can use. To view available apps: go to the App Store page, located on the left side menu on your seller account.
How to use Coupons
Coupons incentivize sales and we recommend using them to all Cratejoy Sellers.
To create a coupon: go to the coupon page on your seller account and select the green Add a Coupon button.
To add a coupon to a listing: go to the listing page and scroll all the way down to the bottom to add a coupon.
The Marketplace Settings page is found on the left side menu in your seller account.
On this page you can:
- Upload your logo
- Write a short bio about your business
- Designate an email address where you would like to receive requests from your Cratejoy Marketplace Subscribers
- Designate an email address where you would like to receive PR/Marketing opportunities from Cratejoy
- Include a custom Order Notification Note to be included in order confirmation emails (Marketplace order confirmation emails are sent automatically by Cratejoy)
Read all about how to make a standout, high-quality listing here!
The Brief Description is the first thing that most potential buyers will see when searching the internet or Cratejoy. It’s the one sentence that needs to stand out on the search page. It should clearly describe the contents of the box or the experience the box will deliver.
Next is the Main Headline. This will most likely be the first thing people read when they open your listing. Keep it short and to the point!
Now it’s time for the Detailed Description. This is where you can fully describe your box. Tell your subscriber about the kinds of products you select for your subscription boxes. If your products change monthly: describe the theme of your box and give examples of possible products.
Below the Detailed Description is the List of Features that can contain up to five bulleted points. We suggest using all of them to communicate short, high-value points about your box.
You can use the bulleted points to suggest uses for your products, give specifics about curation, highlight the retail value of the box, and so much more!
Clear, high-quality Images on your listing attract buyers and get you more sales.
Potential customers can’t walk into your store and pick up the products you’re offering. They’re relying on the photos of your product to tell them everything they need to know before purchasing.
We recommend at least 8-10 total images, 1200×800 for dimensions and 300ppi, showcasing high-quality, high-resolution photos of your box and the contents.
Poor photo quality is often a dealbreaker for prospective customers online. We strongly recommend that you invest in this area of your listing!
Showcasing a past or current box (ideally, both!) on your listing helps to set the expectations for new subscribers. Each box showcase added is confirmation that your subscription box will delight and impress.
Customers viewing your listings are already interested in your products. Create additional appeal and get those sales by providing past and current box showcases!
Your Current Box Showcase (or Sneak Peek) will be displayed just below the video section of your listing. The sneak peek includes a call to action for your customers to order by a certain date.
The Past Box Showcase will be displayed just below the review section of your listing. You can add as many as 12 past box showcases.
A video is worth a thousand pictures. Customers can’t interact first hand with your products. Watching someone interact with the products is very important to help them understand the value of the box and introduce them to your brand.
A short, high-quality video that is engaging and showcases your products will help you get more subscribers!
You will need to upload your video to Youtube first and then you can add your video to your listing via the Photos & Videos tab on the listing page.
Remember these three simple tips when creating a video:
- Make sure the video is bright and well-lit
- Display and discuss the box contents
- Keep it brief, informative, and engaging
Shipping & Coupons
Providing clear Shipping Information saves you time and makes you money. Potential customers are more likely to subscribe when they see clear shipping information. Those same customers are less likely to contact you with questions about when their order will ship.
Choose a shipping schedule that works for you within this format:
“Your box will ship on the [DATE] of every month. Please order by the [DATE] to get the current box.”
“Your first box will ship on the [DATE] of the month. Please order by the [DATE] to get the current box. For existing subscribers, we ship on the [DATE] of every month.”
Encourage shoppers to buy by offering a coupon. Cratejoy offers many different coupon options. A few examples:
- Discount coupon for a new customer’s first box in a prepay subscription (most popular)
- One-time coupon code to celebrate a holiday
- Free shipping
One of the challenges a growing business faces is spending more time answering individual inquiries about your products and how your subscription works.
Preempt some of those questions and get back some of your valuable time by thoroughly answering all customer questions in your Question & Answer section on your listings.
Prompt responses to customer questions will instill confidence in your products and service. A prospective buyer can be swayed by a Q&A section where every question has a response.
Often prospective customers will have questions about your subscription box and may look in the Q&A section for answers. Customers may or may not reach out to you if the information they need isn’t there. If it’s already there:
- You won’t have to spend time responding to their message
- The customer is more likely to subscribe
Reviews are a great way for you to engage with your customers and demonstrate the value of your subscription box!
When your business receives a new review a notification will be sent to your Cratejoy email address. That notification will include the review text, star rating, and the reviewer’s contact information. Learn more about how reviews work here.
You have the option to respond to any review that your box receives. We recommend responding publicly to a majority of the reviews, but you do not need to respond to each one.
By responding to reviews: you are communicating that you are an engaged seller that values the experiences of your customers.
Learn more about responding to reviews here.
All businesses receive negative feedback and it can be quite stressful for a small business owner.
Make the choice to respond professionally and calmly when you receive a negative review.
Best practices for responding to negative feedback:
- Reach out directly to the reviewer.
- Offer an apology, thanks for the feedback, and a resolution to their problem.
- Respond to the review so that other customers can see your commitment to customer service.
- Keep it brief, friendly, and customer-focused.
After you’ve responded to the negative feedback: move forward. Don’t dwell on why the customer may or may not have been right. Try to absorb any valuable feedback and work on areas that need improvement. Learn more about responding to negative reviews and how to move forward here.
First Sale Overview
Either scroll through the list of subscriptions on your Subscriptions page or use the Search entry field on the right side of the page to find the subscription. You can search by name, partial name, or email address to locate a subscription.
Clicking on the subscription information page will show you everything about that subscription, including the product, the status of the subscription, revenue, fulfillments, subscription type and terms, sign up date, the customer’s name and address, past and future shipments, and other subscription information.
In the individual subscription you can: change the renewal date, cancel the subscription, issue a refund and more.
To learn more about viewing your subscriptions: click here.
You can filter shipments by Status, What to Ship (what needs to be shipped now or in the future), Product, Term, Subscription Cycle, or Gift Status.
By clicking into an individual shipment you can print a label, mark a shipment as shipped, or cancel the shipment.
New Seller Info Guide
We’ve gathered all the links from this post in one place! Click here or on the caption below to access the list of clickable links.
Starting a new business is a big undertaking. We’re here to help you every step of the way! Bookmark this guide as a reference, while setting up your business, and consider attending our regularly occurring seller webinars.
Staying organized is the key to success as you are starting out as a new seller. There are many different ways to stay organized (you can use a smartphone app, a Word or Google document, or a notebook and pencil!).
Whatever you choose: make sure it works for you so that you will stick with it.
Want to keep reading? We think you’ll benefit from this blog post about how to create a great marketplace listing!