How to Manage Subscription Box VariationsApr 09, 2023
Discover how using simple labels can help you manage subscription box variations with ease.
Some subscriptions include exactly the same items in every box that goes out. Each box is identical to all the others. Those boxes are easy to pack quickly and efficiently. Ahhh… isn’t simplicity wonderful? But when subscription boxes aren’t all exactly alike, when they include variations, things can get complicated.
They don’t have to.
Many subscription boxes involve variations. Variations in size, style, color, and more. My own subscriptions all involve some type of variation. In my T-Shirt Club and Tees for Teachers subscriptions, subscribers all receive the same style of tee, but each in her own size. And my Monogram Box™, well, that’s a whole different level of variations!
I get a lot of questions about how I manage my subscription box variations. New subscription box owners - and even some veteran subscription box owners - have trouble visualizing how to manage variations smoothly and efficiently.
Of course, what you need is a system. Systems and processes are so important in all facets of your subscription box business, and managing variations is no exception. My team and I created a label system that allows us to manage variations and packing boxes seamlessly.
I’m sharing that system with you today.
Types of subscription box variations.
Subscription box variations come in all shapes and sizes (pun intended.) Variations can be size, color preference, personalization, or style. They can even be the number of items in a box.
Variations are a great way to add to the perceived value in your subscription box. Check out episode 116 of the Launch Your Box podcast for more information.
If you have a t-shirt subscription like I do, you will need to manage variations in size. If you have a home decor box, you might offer choices in style - farmhouse vs. modern, for example.
A pet box might offer quantity options based on how many pets a subscriber has. Launch Your Box member Nicole’s GPig Box comes in a variety of sizes to serve families with 1-6 or more guinea pigs.
Managing all those variations can get complicated, especially as your subscriber numbers grow. I have multiple subscriptions and thousands of subscribers. An effective, easy-to-follow system helps us fulfill them quickly and accurately.
Managing subscription box variations with labels.
Like all subscription box owners, I use labels on each of my boxes. There is of course a shipping label on each box to make sure it gets where it needs to go.
But there is another label that has nothing to do with shipping and everything to do with packing. This label tells my team everything they need to know in order to quickly and accurately pack that box.
The label includes information like the customer's name, monogram, and shirt size. It also tells us whether the box will be shipped or picked up and if the subscriber paid for an upgrade or gets a bonus.
By placing a label on each box, a member of my team can quickly and easily see exactly what should be in each box.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly and accurately you can pack boxes when a label right on the box tells you exactly what goes inside!
Gathering variation information from subscribers.
If you plan to offer variations to your subscription box, you will need to capture certain information from subscribers when they sign up.
Think about what options you will give your members. It’s important these variations are manageable not only now but also as you scale your subscription box business.
I ask for monogramming preferences and ALL subscribers’ sizes during registration. I want to make sure I have everything I need no matter what I decide to put in the box. All this information goes into a master spreadsheet that my team uses when creating our box items and labels.
Think about possible variations for your niche and ask for necessary information upfront. If you ever find yourself needing more information for a specific box, you can create a Google Form to send out.
It’s not all about labels. Technology helps manage variations, too!
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.
Creating labels that make packing go smoothly.
When you print your labels, only include the variations you need that month. Unnecessary additional information will only cause confusion. Don't put any sensitive info like phone numbers and emails on the labels.
I like to use Avery.com to print efficiently. They make it so easy to choose the label template we need, upload our spreadsheet, select the variables we need that month, and print.
I use these labels in 2x4 for the boxes and 1x2-5/8 for the mailer bags we use to ship our t-shirt subscriptions.
The key to managing subscription box variations is to print your labels and get organized BEFORE packing day begins!
When printing labels for the T-shirt Club subscriptions, we sort by size. We 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. This system leaves less room for error and results in a smooth process.
Labels also help during the final quality check before a box is sealed for shipping. No matter who completes the task, they know exactly what should be in the box and can make sure it's all there before closing it up, minimizing mistakes, and streamlining packing day.
Managing subscription box variations doesn't have to be complicated. Use what I shared with you today to come up with a system that works for your subscription box business. Then simply follow your system, taking time to get organized ahead of time. The result? A packing day that goes more smoothly and easily than you imagined it could!
Learn from me:
- Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
- Launch Your Box: My complete training program that walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
- Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired!
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