Subscription boxes: Choosing items to include

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Variety: Ensuring that each box is balanced, and does not repeat over time

One of the most important decisions when selecting items to include in a subscription box service is the variety of items. For most subscription boxes part of the excitement is getting to try new items, and variety is a key part of this. There are two components to this variety:

  • Within-box variety: Ensuring that the items do not overlap with one another.
  • Between-box variety: That the offerings differ sufficiently month to month that the boxes remain exciting to receive.

Consistency: Not deviating too far from what customers expect

While variety is important, it is also important not to deviate too far from the key theme of the subscription box. Getting the odd surprise may be great, but if you start including many items that are not in line with what customers want, they may be much more likely to cancel their subscriptions. 

Customer value: Ways of increasing the benefit of the box

Another key consideration when considering what to include is the value that customers are likely to derive from it. Does the value exceed the cost of including the item – if not, it is unlikely to be a good option.

While it may not be possible for all subscription boxes, looking for ways to increase the value of the box through sample items (potentially that you are able to acquire for free), or discounts that you obtain through large purchases can help. Manufacturers of items that you include may be able to offer a discount on you including them in your box based on the possibility that some customers that you ship your boxes to will then go on to be more permanent customers of trial items that they have used. 

Ease of shipping the items: Avoiding items become too expensive to ship

A final consideration when selecting items to include in your subscription box is the weight of the items. Weight can quickly limit the ability to provide value for customers – if it is costing almost as much to ship your box as the value of the items inside, achieving sufficient value for customers will inherently be difficult.

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