Welcome back to “Unboxed,” Cratejoy’s merchant success series. Each month, we’ll learn tips, tricks, and subscription box secrets from Cratejoy’s top merchants.
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish we knew to make a production schedule right away. Once we had that in place – a master Excel sheet with actionable items that reoccur each month with a coordinating due date – it made life much easier! Now we simply check it each Monday to ensure everything is on track for our current and future boxes.
How do you keep up momentum every month?
Momentum for us comes from new projects that we’re excited about. We have a separate Excel sheet labeled long-term projects. On there we have things like: Professional Photos, Add Video to Cratejoy Listing, Create Separate Store, Create Instagram Ad, etc. We typically have one long-term project we’re hoping to complete each month, and that keeps things exciting, because we’re always eager to see what benefits our new completed project will bring.
What are a few areas you think are worth investing in?
First, photos. If you are not a photographer, hire a photographer. Yes, a real professional. Someone who has product photography experience, not someone who photographs pretty babies as a side gig. Do this as soon as you have a budget for it!
Second, influencers. They will move the needle for you, so spend a significant amount of time making contacts with them, and set aside a budget to get them free boxes, even ones across the world (they are worth the international shipping).
Which social media platform do you think is the most important?
Instagram. End of story. It’s where users are most likely to make purchases. As a small business owner, you can’t shrug and say, “I don’t get Instagram.” Find someone who does if that’s the case.
Or learn. It can be a major force in moving your company forward if you utilize it correctly. We’ve spent a ton of time on ours lately, so if you want a cheat sheet, just stalk us at Instagram.com/goScribbler and steal some of our ideas! We don’t mind.
Facebook is next on our list, but that’s only for the group you may create for paid subscribers. That’s your community hub!
Twitter is last. We’re not sure why it’s on our list at all. Probably so we can keep up with the Kardashians. Your goal on Twitter is really to just post general lifestyle tips or funny memes that people agree with so you get RT’d. Don’t post about your box because, well… no one cares. Twitter is for entertainment, news alerts, and communal anger.
What is some advice for a merchant whose sales have slowed?
Look at your branding first. People want to feel like they are either joining a community, treating themselves, gaining knowledge they need, or getting something exclusive (as in, your box sells out each month in minutes or even days, and they are so happy they got a slot!).
Where does your company fall into that? Are you comparing yourself to other sub boxes? Stop that! Your eyes need to be on companies like Pepsi and Nordstrom’s and Bass Pro Shop.
Stop thinking of your box as simply a box, because you are trying to become a corporation.
If your boxes aren’t moving well, rebrand with a new website, logo, photos, slogan, or packaging. Refresh, recharge, and forge a new path! All those corporations you are now looking at had to click refresh more times than they can count, and they’ve all had moments when they suspected they were going under. So chin up!
Take Action: Stumped by how to bring back customers and grow sales? Check out our comprehensive (and free!) e-book on avoiding churn and learn how once-canceled customers can stay a profitable audience.
Any final advice?
Best of luck, guys! Just remember we all have bad days, but close behind those are the good ones. So keep working it! If you need a one-on-one chat, feel free to reach out to me at Victoria@goScribbler.com. I do charge a small consult fee, but you can also easily find a lot of my tips for free on Cratejoy’s blog!