The business of Christmas – How to make a product out of literally nothing (PART 2)

Salena Knight
Written by Salena Knight

Christmas is the time for giving and receiving.

But these days it can feel like it’s getting harder and harder to find the perfect gift to give.

So as a retailer, how do you continually keep up with what’s trending, churning thorough products to keep that excitement alive, while still keeping firm control over your inventory?

The answer could be as simple as creating a product, out of literally nothing.

The gift of anticipation

You know the feeling you get when the postman arrives with a delivery that you weren’t expecting? Just what’s inside the box? That moment when your heart gets a tiny flutter …

You grab the scissors and carefully cut open the tape that seals all the unknown goodies inside.

Carefully, you peel back the layers to reveal this treasure.

What if you could have that experience on a monthly (or quarterly) basis?

Curating a subscription box for your retail store could be the answer to creating an amazing customer experience and keeping your customers continually delighted.

Who Gives A Crap is a social enterprise that not only delivers bulk toilet paper to your door, they also donate 50% of profits to fund hygiene and sanitation projects in third world countries.

Now if a company can convince tens of thousands of people to sign up for mail order toilet paper, surely your beautifully curated products can do the same?

Ecommerce retailer Alanna added monthly subscriptions to her fabric business. She literally created a product, from nothing. From inventory that she didn’t even have in-stock.

Now she has thousands of dollars in monthly recurring revenue, paid upfront.

And who doesn’t want thousands of guaranteed dollars to smooth out their cashflow!

So just how do you put together a product from nothing? Here are my six tips to creating our own subscription box …

Step 1: Determine what your customers would like to receive.

If you don’t already know your customers inside out, then brainstorm a handful of subscription ideas and poll your top 20 customers to see what they prefer.

Step 2: Work out simple, effective branding and packaging

There’s a good chance that you aren’t going to have thousands of dollars to test out how subscriptions are going to work for you, so find off the shelf packaging and use stickers, labels and swing tags to personalise the experience and present professionally.

Step 3: Set the monthly price

Work out the cost of the items, the cost of packaging and shipping and the time to pack the orders.
This is going to be a premium service, so price it accordingly. Remember, there must be a good profit margin on this product.

Step 4: Secure Partnerships

Approach your suppliers and see if they want to be featured in the subscription. Work out a reduced wholesale rate for select ‘Products of the Month’. Hint: if you have a strong, loyal customer base, you could even go so far as to charge a fee to a supplier for being featured.

Step 5: Marketing

Create a detailed marketing plan that covers multiple avenues of paid and unpaid advertising and make sure to get your suppliers on board when it comes to advertising your new service.

Step 6: Customer Experience

Map out what your customer experience is going to be – from ordering through to receiving, to ensure that you maintain a consistent, premium level of service, from beginning to end.

It’s the anticipation. The thought of giving a regular gift. The wondering what’s going to be inside, that has people signing up to subscription boxes as quick as they can enter their credit card details …

If you’d like to smooth out your cash flow, then subscription boxes may just be the answer for your retail store.

About the author
Salena Knight
Salena Knight