This year for Small Business Week, Cratejoy is highlighting a different aspect of owning and running a subscription box company. Each day we’ll feature a different merchant that excels in a specific area of subscription business.
Day four is all about subscription shipping and logistics, so we interviewed Anastasia Miliano, the COO of Bitsbox, to talk to her about how they’ve succeeded in navigating the complex shipping and logistics of subscription business.
What shipping issues did you encounter when you started Bitsbox?
Shipping is always a bit stressful—you put all this effort into creating your materials and assembling your boxes and then you slap a label on them and send them away. When we first launched, it took us a few months to really understand our shipping schedules—how long does it really take a box to get to Texas? To Hawaii? To Australia? Now we have years of experience with shipping time, weird mistakes, carrier oddities, etc.
You’re currently on a rolling shipping plan with anniversary billing. How do you think that’s changed the subscriber experience?
Anniversary billing has greatly improved our subscriber experience in two main ways. First, new subscribers get their first box shipped almost immediately! No more waiting for the end of the month for the batch to close.
Previously, some customers could end up having to wait nearly 5 weeks (including shipping time) for their first box. Secondly, it’s much simpler to explain to customers: your first box ships immediately, and your subscription will renew a month (or 3 or 12 months) later.
We don’t have to worry about customers getting renewed before they get to try out their first box, nor do we have the confusion of renewing on the first of the month, but then having to wait almost 3 more weeks before the box ships.
Do you have any recommendations for new subscription box owners who are trying to simplify their shipping schedules?
It was helpful for us to start simple (with the batch cycle processing) but as soon as possible for your business—switch to anniversary billing and shipping!
What other pain points in regards to shipping and logistics have you had to deal with?
During the holidays, it’s super important to be able to get customers their boxes before Christmas.
Rather than cutting off sales early in December or eating shipping costs ourselves, we created a one-time product called “Rush Shipping”. We added a banner to our checkout page offering customers the ability to add the product to their cart and then rush shipped anyone’s boxes who added that “product”. As we got closer to Christmas, we increased the price and changed it to “Two Day Shipping”. We were able to take orders through December 19th!
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