How to Manage Subscription Box Variations

blog resources Jan 04, 2021


Some subscription box businesses can include the same pieces in every single box, but many, like mine, have multiple custom variables. I am often asked how I manage my subscription box variations. It's just one of those things that is tricky to wrap your mind around. We have created a labeling system to make box variations and packing day seamless that I will share with you today.

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What is a subscription box variation?


You might be wondering what a variable is for a subscription box.

These could be size, color preference, personalization, or style. So many different things, really. 

Maybe you have a jewelry subscription box, and you want to know if someone prefers gold, silver, or pops of color. 

Some months I have as many as four variations in my Framed! Monogram Box subscription. Managing all those variations for thousands of boxes can get a little tricky. I am going to show you what I do to make packing day go smoothly with all those differences to consider. 


It's all about the Labels!

I use labels on each of my packages... Not for shipping. These labels state everything I need to know for packing the box it goes on. 

They will include things like the customer's name, their monogram, shirt size, whether they will be picking up the box or if it's shipped, and if they paid for an upgrade or get a bonus. 

Then you put a label on each of your packages, and when you walk down the line on packing day, you know exactly what should be in each box.


So how do you get all the information from your subscribers?

The first thing you need to do is capture all those variations at registration.

Think about what options you are going to give your members. Try to keep a reasonable amount so that it's manageable as you scale your subscription box business. 

I ask for monogramming preferences and ALL their sizes during registration. I want to make sure I have everything I need no matter what I decide to put in the box. Think about what those possibilities would be for your niche. If you ever find yourself needing more information for a specific box, you can create a Google Form to send out. 

All this information goes onto a master spreadsheet that you can use when creating your box items and labels.

We use the same labeling method for our T-Shirt Subscriptions. The main variables I need on the label for packing my T-Shirt Club are the shirt size, whether they will pick-up or ship, and if they have an upgrade.

I use WooCommerce plugins on my WordPress site to create my custom fields and export the data files for my subscriptions. We recently moved my retail shop to Shopify using the Infinite Options app for custom field options like monogramming.


Label Making

After all of the information is collected at registration, it goes into a spreadsheet. Having all of your subscriber information in a spreadsheet makes it easier for you to sort and select the information you need for printing labels.

You don't want to put all these variables you collect on these labels because that is too much information and can cause confusion. You only want what you need to pack that particular box. Also, don't put any customer-sensitive info like phone numbers and emails on the labels.



I like to use to print efficiently. Choose the label template you need, upload your spreadsheet, select the variables you need that month, and print!

I use these labels in the size 2x4 for the boxes and 1x2-5/8 for the T-shirt bags.


Check out all my Subscription Box Supplies on Amazon


The key to managing subscription box variations is to print your labels and be organized BEFORE packing day begins!



When printing labels for the T-shirt Club subscriptions, we sort by size. So, print all the smalls first, then the mediums, and so on. For the boxes, we often sort alphabetically because of the monograms. Do what makes sense for your subscription box business. 

Then on packing day, we line things up and pack according to the same sorting system. There is less room for error, and it's a smooth process.


Simplify packing and shipping with my top 5 shipping tools!


Having the labels also helps during that final check before your box is sealed for shipping. No matter who completes the task, they will know exactly what should be in the box and make sure it's all there before closing it up, minimizing mistakes, and streamlining packing day.



I shared these tips on my Facebook page How to Start a Subscription Box with Sarah Williams.  Follow for more tips and ideas!

I hope this helps you understand how you can manage a customized subscription box with variations.

Managing subscription box variations doesn't have to be complicated. All you have to do is be organized and prepare for packing day.



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