A Guide To Subscription Box Packaging | Smurfit Kappa

A Guide To Subscription Box Packaging

Subscription Box Packaging, Subscription Boxes 

The subscription box market has increased dramatically in recent years. More and more consumers are discovering the convenience of having things delivered straight to their door. From beauty products to flowers and pet products to alcohol, lots of industries have branched out into the world of subscription boxes, and it is a business model that has proved fruitful for thousands of businesses. 

According to an IMARC study, in 2020, the subscription box market revenue was valued at $18.8 billion and they forecast the market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.1% during 2021-2026.One of the key considerations for any subscription box is the packaging. This is how your products will arrive on your customer’s doorstep and it needs to make an unforgettable first impression. Not only that, but subscription box packaging should be designed to keep shipping costs to a minimum and meet all relevant requirements such as Amazon certification and national and international courier sizing guidelines. In this guide, we’re sharing everything you need to know about subscription box packaging from our friendly experts at Smurfit Kappa. 

Three Types Of Subscription Boxes

Not all subscription services follow the same model or have the same goals, and before you can determine the best packaging options, you need to understand the type of subscription service you are offering. The three main types of subscription are:

  • Curation Subscription: When a customer buys a curation subscription, they will always be surprised by the products delivered. Usually, they are chosen based on their preferences and this is a common option for food, beauty and clothing companies. Examples of this kind of subscription are Hello Fresh and Stitch Fix 
  • Replenishment Subscription: This option helps customers to replenish items they use regularly while also saving time and money. It is a common option for companies selling commodity items that need to be replenished on a regular basis, such as vitamins or razors. Amazon offers this service for certain items, allowing customers to receive the products every month. 
  • Access Subscription: Subscriptions for access give consumers exclusive access to certain products or perks that they can’t get elsewhere. This is a popular option for clothing and food brands, such as NatureBox and JustFab. 

What Markets Use Subscription Box Packaging?

Subscription boxes have become a popular option for so many industries, and they bring a lot of benefits to both businesses and consumers. From a business perspective, subscription boxes are cost-effective and great for building brand awareness without needing an in store presence. Just some of the markets that use subscription packaging on a regular basis are:

  • Fashion brands, including clothing, accessories and style.
  • Beauty and grooming businesses.
  • Food and drink companies, particularly in specialist foods such as artisan products or unique drinks.
  • Education providers with products such as books and crafts.
  • Pet product brands, including dog food, treats and toys.
  • Fitness subscriptions for gym gear, healthy foods, or fitness accessories.

Beauty Subscription Packaging Box 

Why Is Subscription Box Packaging Important?

The Subscription box economy is big business and so competition in this space is very fierce. To build a successful subscription business, you need to have loyal customers and be delivering value to their lives through your products. Consumers are quick to discontinue a subscription if they are not satisfied, and one study revealed that the most common reasons for ending a subscription were dissatisfaction with the product or experience, and a lack of value for money. 

Ultimately, people love subscription boxes because they are such a unique experience which delivers surprise and delight right to their doorsteps. It is all about impressing your subscribers, in order to encourage them to stick with you for the long haul. Having the perfect packaging is essential for making a positive and lasting impression on your consumers. When your subscription box packaging arrives at their door, it should evoke as much emotion and value as the products inside. 

The aim of a subscription box is to build a deeper brand loyalty, and when done successfully this is easily achieved. With this loyalty comes extremely high standards, and many consumers have higher expectations from subscription box services than they do for other businesses. Because of this, returns for subscription services need to be seamless and packaging plays such an important part of this process.

Is Your Subscription Box Packaging Creating The Best Customer Experience?

Subscription boxes are all about delivering the best customer experience and your packaging also needs to reflect this. It is your opportunity to wow your audience and give your customers an experience they remember and look forward to every month (or on a predetermined regular basis). Your packaging needs to create an experience in itself, which can be achieved with a clever pack design, beautiful printing or a unique thank you card alongside the order. The unboxing experience should add to the anticipation of the service, so make your packaging more than just a way to get your products from A to B.

Printed Subscription Box 


Six Key Considerations For Subscription Box Packaging

When designing your subscription box packaging, there are a few things you need to keep in mind: 

1. An Extension Of Your Brand: Your packaging is an extension of your brand and helps to make sure your subscription service stands out from the competition.  Make sure every little detail on your packaging reflects your brand image. 

2. Shareworthy On Social Media: Consumers love sharing what they have received on social media and your packaging needs to make them want to post it online. Subscription box packaging can make a big statement and help to build your brand awareness. Not only that, but the use of QR codes has increased significantly in recent months, and more and more brands are starting to use them for digital engagement on packaging. Consider including a QR code on your subscription box for competitions, games, or digital features which further support your brand. By using packaging in this way, you can capture real time data on your customers behaviour. 

3. Sustainability: More customers than ever before are considering sustainability in their buying decisions. Make sure your packaging is not damaging the planet and consumers are more likely to choose your brand over those without sustainability initiatives. Read more about how sustainability plays a role in purchasing decisions here. It simply isn’t enough to have sustainable subscription box packaging, you also need to communicate this to your customers. Make sure your packaging informs consumers if it is sustainable, and consider providing information on how to recycle it.

4. Shipping Costs: Your packaging needs to be efficient to ship to customers on a regular basis. Create postal packs which meet courier guidelines and requirements to ensure your products arrive safely with your customers. 

5. Product Protection: Your packaging must be able to provide the required level of protection to eliminate any risk of product damage in transit and ensure all products arrive in perfect condition, everytime. For high value subscription boxes consider using an ISTA certified packaging supplier who can rigorously test your packs’ performance by simulating your supply chain conditions.

6. Easy To Open: Your customers want to get into your box as easily as possible, so that they can start enjoying their new products. Make sure your packaging can be opened without the need for scissors with features such as a tear tape or zippa rule. One mistake we see time and time again is brands failing to make these useful features obvious to their customers. Highlight to your consumers where the open mechanism is and make it super clear how to use it.

At Smurfit Kappa, we have been providing subscription box packaging to businesses for many years. Our specialists can help create packaging which evokes the right thoughts and feelings about your brand, delivers an excellent customer experience and meets all courier or marketplace requirements, such as Amazon, for shipping. To discuss your subscription box packaging, contact us today. 

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