So last week, I published a review about the CrateJoy affiliate program which I think is one of the best affiliate programs for selling subscription boxes currently available.
After doing more research about the topic, I’ve come across many who are making a great income selling subscription boxes in a wide variety of different niches.
Given how simple (not easy) it is to get started with this business, I’ve decided to write this guide for you sharing all I’ve learned about how to make money with subscription boxes.
If that’s what you’re here to learn, down below you will find all the answers you need to get started with a subscription box business including helpful videos and links to other resources for more information.
So, without further introductions, let’s first go through the TLDR version of this guide, and then dig a little deeper on how to make it work.
Can You Make Money With Subscription Boxes?
- A wide variety of products you can sell. ✔️
- Subscription boxes are fun & convenient. ✔️
- People love buying these boxes. ✔️
- Easy to get started with (using the CrateJoy marketplace). ✔️
- It does require some start-up capital. ✖️
- May not be the best option for complete beginners. ✖️
What are Subscription Boxes?
Subscription boxes are nifty little boxes containing various products in a wide variety of different niches that get sent out to your paying customers either every week, month or even a few months apart.
They are soaring in popularity right (as you can seel from this image below) and for good reason too;
They can be fun, interesting, convenient and most often; they are also pretty cost-efficient too.
The possibilities of what you can sell through a subscription box business are endless (and I will share some ideas with you below) but it’s safe to say;
You can sell just about anything you want in this manner.
What Can You Sell With A Subscription Box?
In this post, you will see me refer to CrateJoy often, and that’s because it’s a great website both for subscription box sellers (and buyers too).
If you haven’t been on their website yet, do so now and see what they do.
It’s a website that curates subscription boxes from all over the world giving sellers a platform to list their boxes, and it also gives interested buyers a way to buy different subscriptions all from one platform eliminating a lot of hassle, headaches, and guaranteeing quality.
As I said already, there’s literally not much you can not sell through a subscription box service, and you can see proof of that by spending a few minutes browsing what’s available on CrateJoy.
To get some ideas going, here are some of their most popular boxes currently available:
As you can see, there are many types of subscription boxes people find interesting, some of these are:
- Wine boxes (delivered every week/month)
- Fresh flowers (delivered daily/weekly)
- Dog treats (delivered every month)
- Skincare products
- Specific food ingredients for a particular diet
- Children’s books
- Accessories for the home & office – and;
- Even sex toys (yep, that too)!
You’re only limited by your imagination and given how CrateJoy has over 40,000 subscribers;
It’s safe to assume that what you want to offer, somebody is willing to pay for it (given it’s a high-quality subscription box)!
How To Get Started Making Money With Subscription Boxes?
This guide is about how to make a business from subscription boxes so let’s dive a little bit deeper about that and see what you would need to get started.
Here’s what you need to get started:
The first step should be picking what you want to sell through your subscription box.
Ideally, you want to make this something that fits into the “popular categories” mentioned above since we already know these are “best sellers” and there are people who want to buy these things.
If you already have an idea in mind of what you want to offer, that’s great but if you don’t;
You can see a list of subscription box ideas you can sell here >>
Ideally, you choose something that you yourself know, use and enjoy.
You do not want to go into a niche that you think will make money, but have no idea what it’s about and what customers in that niche are looking for.
Again, the possibilities are endless and there are many people looking to buy subscription boxes so whatever it is you want to sell, someone somewhere would likely be interested.
An ideal (target customer):
You are also going to want to create a bit of an avatar for your ideal target customer.
This allows you to carefully pick what products to include, and how to structure your box-business to meet the demands of this target audience.
ContentChampion.com has a great guide on how to create a customer avatar in 5 steps so take a look at that first, take some notes, come up with your target buyer and then move on to the next step.
The products you’re going to be selling:
Next, you are going to want to find a way to source the products you will be selling, which is (in my opinion) one of the CONS of starting a subscription box business.
With affiliate marketing, I don’t need to have the product on hand to sell.
The same goes for dropshipping, which is the business model where the manufacturer sends out the product to your customer directly.
With subscription box services, you are going to need to have inventory on hand, and that can be challenging and also expensive (depending on what you want to be selling of course).
CrateJoy also has a guide on where you can source products from which makes this step a little bit easier, but it does not eliminate the need to buy some products in preparation for the first few sales you will be getting.
My tip here would be to get enough to cover 5-10 box subscriptions and once you have confirmed there’s an interest in what you’re offering, you can then start scaling up your orders to accommodate for larger volumes (which also brings with it some challenges such as storing and the need for a bigger budget).
If, on the other hand, you can offer something that you can produce yourself (at home), then you can get started with much fewer headaches and produce your items once you have a buyer.
Of course, this too brings some problems as there are only so many hours in a day, which would then require you to hire others to help you keep up with demand (which is a good problem to have).
Unfortunately, this step varies depending on what you can offer, so I can’t give you specific advice about what to do. However, the CrateJoy guide linked above should give you some “beginner tips” on how to get started with your inventory.
A way to ship your boxes:
Next, you also want to make sure you have your shipping details on hand.
- How much will it cost to ship your box?
- Where can you ship it to?
- What shipping method will you use?
- What is the final weight of your box?
These are just some of the questions that need answering as this will determine the price of your shipping costs.
You can then price it into your box (and offer free shipping) or you can set the shipping rates differently depending on the weight and/or shipping destination.
ShipStation.com has a great guide on starting a subscription box business and in Chapter 4, they discuss all the shipping questions you may have. You can see that guide here.
People who are willing to spend money on what you’re offering:
The last step would be how you’re going to get customers to first find your subscription box, and then how they are going to buy it.
Now, given how they already have your target customer and the infrastructure to get you going;
If you’re brand new to all of this, you’d do well in joining CrateJoy as a seller and handle all your business through their platform
For sellers, they have two main options on how you can join them, either on a free membership or on a paid membership (which will cost you $39 per month + transaction fees).
The difference between the two is that with the “premium” choice, you also get your own custom website where you can list your products and still be able to use the infrastructure CrateJoy has in place to sell subscription boxes.
Personally, I would first go with the free model and once you start making money, you’d then switch to a premium and have your own website (thus looking more of a professional brand than just someone selling a box).
One thing I want to note here is that CrateJoy does take a cut from your earnings, and it’s not small!
At the time of writing, CrateJoy will take 11.25% of your transactions so keep that in mind when pricing your subscription box service.
Of course, you do not have to go through CrateJoy if you don’t want to (or if you don’t like their fees).
You can just as easily start your own website, and sell your subscription box through there.
This will allow you to have full control of your business and you’d also get to keep 100% of your profits.
However… if you have zero experience in building a website and how to get traffic (customers) to it, it will be a very hard learning curve to get over.
If I was to get into this business, I would go with CrateJoy first and leverage their brand to build my business.
Sure the 11% transaction fee is not cheap, but knowing how hard it is to get a website going (and how long it will take) I’d make the choice to pay the 11% and avoid all that hassle.
5 Quick-Fire Subscription Box Business Tips & FAQs:
Before I let you go to become the next subscription box mogul, I also want to share with you some quick-fire tips and FAQS that can help you get started (& also make a decent income with this business model).
How Much Should You Charge (Per Box)?
The final price you put on your service depends a lot on what you’re offering.
On CrateJoy, you will find boxes that sell from $10 a month, all the way up to $100+ a month.
If your subscription box is fun and entertaining or better yet; useful and convenient; do not be worried too much about the price point.
Simply calculate your profit margins and if you’re happy with that, let your target customer decide if its worth buying or not.
Ideally, you want to make it an “irresistible offer” so the more value you can put into each box, the more you can charge for it.
This guide shows you how to price your subscription box service for maximum profits.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling A Subscription Box?
There’s definitely a business here.
If you know what you’re doing, you can make a full-time income just with this business.
I’ve done some research about what other sellers are making and I found this great article covering the economics of this $2.6 billion dollar box business.
Run It As A Business & It Will Pay You As A Business
I’ve been doing “online business” for nearly a decade now and one problem I had to get over (and one I know many beginners suffer with) is the treat your business like a business, not a hobby.
A hobby will pay you like a hobby, but a business will pay you like a business.
Here’s a cool business plan for subscription box services that will teach you all you need to know about how to approach this as a business (and make a roaring success out of it).
Keep Costs Low (At First)
Starting out, try to keep costs as low as possible.
Do not go and invest some $100,000 into this business before making sure there is a demand for what you are offering.
If you’re coming into this brand new to everything with no experience with marketing, selling and business in general;
There will be some major hurdles and learning curves you need to get over so the less you invest in the beginning, the better it will be for you.
Of course, don’t be stingy with it either, but understand you will not get everything right from the get-go and you will suffer a few losses in the beginning.
Promote, Sell & Promote
The last tip I want to share with you is to promote the hell out of your subscription box.
The more eyeballs you get on your listing, the more money you will make. That’s just how business works.
What I’m trying to say here is don’t just create a subscription box service and except orders to come flooding in.
The “hard part” comes after you create it, and that’s selling it.
Stay hungry, stay motivated and keep going (& work hard).
I’ll leave you with that for today.
I hope my guide on how to make money with subscription box service + all the helpful links I’ve provided to other sources gave you all you need to know about this business model.
If you have any questions, be sure to let me know down below and if you’d like to see how I make a full-time income online;
Since 2011, I’ve been learning how to make money online with affiliate marketing. This website is where I share everything I know and all I will learn along until I reach my next income goal of $30,000 p/month.