While early subscription box models sent the same set of items to all subscribers, this “one-size-fits-all” approach has evolved to meet the growing demand from shoppers who expect a personalized shopping experience.
Why the shift?
91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.
Today, more than half of all subscription box businesses offer a curated experience.
Curated subscription boxes are packed with products that fit the preferences of individual subscribers. Preferences are typically obtained through a comprehensive quiz during the initial checkout process or at regular intervals throughout the lifetime of their subscription.
While a personalized approach is preferred by consumers, tailoring boxes based on individual preferences requires extensive experience in inventory management, packaging, fulfillment strategies, global logistics and shipping–all of which become increasingly complex as your business scales.
Fortunately, subscription box businesses that overcome these challenges are positioned extremely well to stand out from the competition, improve customer retention and generate new business.
Challenges of Curated Subscription Box Fulfillment
Here are the top four fulfillment challenges faced by curated subscription box businesses.
There’s little room for error when it comes to inventory management for curated subscription boxes. In addition to sourcing the perfect items for customers, curated subscription box businesses must maintain a precise balance of inventory that ensures enough products are in-stock, but not so much that you’re left with excess inventory. Challenges of maintaining this delicate balance include:
- Running out of storage space for current or future inventory.
- Having inventory pass its expiration date before getting into the hands of customers.
- Losing money after stocking too heavily on a certain product that isn't selling.
- Getting stuck with excess packaging materials.
Maintaining this delicate balance of inventory is a headache for many subscription box businesses due to ongoing supply chain issues. Whether you source products domestically or overseas, many e-commerce businesses have been plagued by supply chain issues, such as delays, increasing costs and out-of-stock items.
Importing and Exporting
Speaking of supply chain issues, curated subscription box businesses face two challenges right now. The first is sourcing imported goods, as multiple factors are affecting this including:
- Congestion at major points of entry.
- Reduced capacity on air and ocean freight.
- Lack of port container space.
The same factors listed above affect exporting goods outside of the U.S., as well. However, even without the pandemic-related hurdles, subscription box businesses that ship internationally have another issue to contend with: customs delays at foreign destinations and complex import requirements that are unique to each country.
Warehousing and storing products can be another major challenge, especially for small or new subscription box businesses. You’ll need scalable space for all of the items in the current box, as well as upcoming boxes that will include different items. Other things to consider are all the marketing materials that accompany these items, such as ingredient lists, instructions and promotions.
Shipping-related issues are where many subscription box businesses lose potential customers. In fact, shipping-related issues are the reason why nearly half of all shoppers abandon their carts. Since subscription box businesses typically charge a flat rate for every box, no matter the materials, maintaining low shipping costs is critical. This can be extremely difficult for curated subscription boxes that contain products of varying sizes as unplanned spikes in delivery costs can wreak havoc on profits.
Fulfillment Solutions for Curated Subscription Box Businesses
Handling order fulfillment in-house can be a lot on top of running a subscription box business. After all, your business likely needs most–or all–of the following fulfillment and logistics services to reliably deliver boxes to customers:
- Inventory Management
- Kitting and Assembly
- Pick and Pack
- Domestic and International Shipping
- Customs Brokerage
Between supply chain issues, delays, and increasing costs, it makes sense to outsource these tasks to a professional e-commerce fulfillment partner like GLF. Our extensive experience in fulfillment and logistics allows us to create customized solutions and mitigate fulfillment challenges for e-commerce businesses. Our all-in-one fulfillment services ensure a rock-solid supply chain that saves money, expedites delivery times and grows your business. We offer:
- 24/7 access to inventory analytics and reports.
- Integrations with popular storefronts such as Sticky.io and Shopify.
- Strategic warehouse locations in Maine and Texas.
- Transparent pricing.
- Printing, storage and insertion of marketing materials.
- Same-day shipping, drop-shipping, cross-dock shipping, and domestic and international shipping.
- Import and export solutions.
- Quality assurance.
- Returns and exchanges.
We’re eager to learn about your business goals and create a custom solution to make your curated subscription box fulfillment hassle-free, reliable and cost-effective. Contact our team of subscription box fulfillment experts today.