Welcome to the first installment of Cratejoy’s new merchant success series, “Unboxed”. Each month, we’ll learn tips, tricks, and subscription box secrets from Cratejoy’s top merchants.
First up: Victoria Scott, Ryan Scott, and Lindsay Cummings from Scribbler! (Find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.)
What made you pursue Scribbler?
Scribbler is the only subscription box for writers. We love boxes for readers (give us all the bookish boxes!), but after discovering that over 200 million people aspire to write a book in America, we determined there was a market for a literary box targeted to the writer niche.
How did you price your box? What strategy did you use?
We compared what would go in our box to competitors, and used that as a benchmark for what literary box buyers were willing to pay.
From that range, we chose the lower price point, but had shipping separate.
This is a gamble, as some merchants are strong advocates for including shipping in your price point. But we didn’t want any confusion on what subscribers were actually paying for. And we believe in grabbing customers with the lowest price point you can.
Take Action: Ready to price your subscription box like Scribbler? Check out Cratejoy’s marketplace to see what your competitors are doing, and then use our subscription box pricing guide and calculator to find the perfect price point.
Where did you source your box from?
We purchased blank boxes through Lumi.com for the first three months at $1.10 per box (that included shipping), and also bought a large typewriter stamp through Lumi.
We paired it with custom tape through Sticker Mule. It looked like a custom box, but cost much less ($1.15 in total with box, stamp ink, and custom tape).
Once we had the scale we needed, we ordered through a local box printer. Our custom printed boxes will cost $0.69 / each.
Why did you choose Cratejoy?
Cratejoy offered everything we needed to get our business off the ground quickly and efficiently. We loved the turnkey website templates, the automated re-billing, the automated reminders and notifications to our subscribers, the customer service, the dashboard (especially those analytics!), and the fact that we’d be exposed to active subscription shoppers through their Marketplace.
We love Cratejoy, and that’s the honest truth. If we were to start a dozen more sub box companies, our first step would be creating a Cratejoy account.
Do you currently use a fulfillment center?
We are currently at 550 subscribers, and we keep it in-house. But this month we are hiring our own packers, creating work schedules, and renting tables, etc. We decided at 500 we would hire help, and at 1,000 we would scale to a fulfillment center.
We believe in doing everything you can to save money until you are at a scale where it’s the same cost, or less, to upgrade. You should be making a profit month one, not waiting for magic day in the future–were you have hundreds of subscribers–to finally turn a profit.
How do you acquire new customers?
We are firm believers in influencers who will do unboxings for the product alone (no fee). We have an excel sheet where we track who has agreed to do an unboxing each month. If they perform well, we ask if they will do two more months of unboxings, because their followers need to see your box several times before purchasing (Marketing Rule of 3).
Ads have never worked for us as well as influencers have. Not even close. We recommend sending influencer boxes to 3 – 5% of your paying subscribers total. So, if you have 100 paying subscribers, you should be sending at least 3 – 5 influencer boxes each month.
Do you do your own photography?
We do, and it’s dreadful! We usually ask our influencers if we can use their (much better) photos, and they almost always agree. Another reason influencers are amazing! We have a reinvestment budget of 25% of profits each month, so next month we’ll be using some of that to reshoot all our boxes with a professional.
Take Action: Need tips on taking your own product photos? Check out our comprehensive guide on taking sales-oriented photos, as well as some of our tips and tricks on the psychology of product photography.
What social media accounts do you use and how often do you update?
We are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We also have a private Facebook group for subscribers. We update about five times a week for Instagram and Facebook, and daily on Twitter. We try to talk lifestyle (for us, that’s writing!) for 7 posts to every 1 post about our box.
We believe in hooking your followers with content they are interested in first, then introducing your product slowly. No one wants to follow an account that only talks about box products. Snooze.