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Five Subscription Box Packaging Ideas to Grow and Retain Customers

Subscription boxes are a huge market. The global market reached $22.7 Billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $65 Billion by 2027. It is no wonder. The site of them triggers the nostalgia of a child’s Christmas morning. Just picking it up off your doorstep makes your heart beat a little faster, your eyes widen, and anticipation takes over. For those subscriptions that provide a surprise every month, you wonder what treasures the box holds, but even when you know what is in the box, there is a great eagerness to hold the contents in your hands. Here lies the importance of having creative subscription box packaging ideas. Greate packaging can enhance the experience and create loyal customers. 

Subscription Boxes Before the Internet

It may surprise those born in the last quarter-century that subscription boxes existed before the internet. It’s true. Thousands of people would wait by their mailboxes for their monthly books, cassette tapes (8-tracks and vinyl if we go way back), coffee, or even makeup. Companies typically would give you the first month for a small price or free items, such as a coffee maker, with a promise to buy future products at full price. Back then, packaging wasn’t given the thought it is today. There was no internet to post your “unboxing” experience to (video was taken with a clunky camcorder, not a phone), the market wasn’t as crowded, and there was no expectation for creative subscription box packaging. 

The internet made subscription boxes readily available (you didn’t have to mail in an order form!). Between 2011 and 2016, the subscription e-commerce market grew by more than 100 percent year over year. It covered a wide range of categories, including beer and wine, cosmetics, meal kits, pet supplies, apparel, razors, and video games. 

Subscription Boxes Today

Reflecting on 2020, a year that saw a big boon for e-commerce, provides insight into the subscription market today. Consumer shopping habits shifted, creating a dramatic increase in new subscribers. This growth brought with it stronger subscriber loyalty. Even as stores reopened and shoppers went back to pre-pandemic shopping, e-commerce subscriptions saw continued growth, according to a report by Recharge.  

Of course, companies made investments in their brands to not only acquire customers but also to retain them, including focusing on creating a seamless and convenient experience that includes subscription flexibility. Subscription boxes allow brands to foster long-lasting relationships with their customers. 

The role of emotion in consumer behavior has been written about extensively. Appealing to consumer emotion and desire for connection in a sincere manner has been used as a powerful marketing tool by many brands. Subscription boxes can be used successfully to do this as they allow consumers to be part of an exclusive group with a shared experience. They also allow consumers to share this experience with others through social media, with positive feedback further fueling the emotional connection. As mentioned earlier, just receiving the box can elicit positive emotions. 

Packaging Ideas To Reinforce An Emotional Connection

If your subscription box contains several items loose in a plain brown box, you may not get the emotional response you want. Making and printing the box are critical first steps for a customized subscription box, but to really engage and wow your customers, there is more to consider. Here are five ideas to consider for creating a successful subscription program. 

  1. Start with your brand. Your subscription box reflects your brand. What are your brand’s values? What does your brand mean to your customers? What thrills your customers? While incorporating the latest trends may sound exciting, remember every detail on your box should reflect your brand. This includes colors and graphics, materials, and configuration. If what is trending is contrary to your brand, incorporating the trend may feel disingenuous to your customers. 
  2. Ease of opening. Many people are live streaming their unboxing experiences. Your customers will lose viewers if the first ten minutes of the live stream is them trying to open the box. If you use an easy-open feature, such as a box zipper, ensure it is evident to the consumer.   
  3. Pack for presenting. If there is a central component, such as electronics, make sure it is the focus when the box is opened. If there are several items, pack them in a way that will be pleasing to the customer. It is essential to know your customer. Some may like to see everything at once. Others may prefer to uncover items one at a time - if this method is used, ensure the last item is either most valued or equally as valued as the rest because you want the unboxing to end on a high note. 
  4. Don’t neglect internal packaging. The internal packaging is just as important as the external packaging for the brand experience. Even if your products aren’t fragile, internal packaging will enhance the experience and let your customers know your care. Internal packaging can vary with your budget and may include shredded crinkle paper, tissue paper, or corrugated inserts. All the options can be customized to match your brand.   
  5. Work with an experienced partner. When it is time to design your subscription box, working with an experienced box manufacturer can save you considerable time and heartache. Look for a company that has engineering design and production in-house and has proven experience with creating innovative subscription boxes. If they can also do fulfillment, warehouse, and logistics, that is even better. 

Delivering Creative Subscription Box Packaging Ideas

At Dusobox, we understand that appearance and functionality are critical for your subscription box’s success. With a full range of services, including design, engineering, printing (G7 certified printer), assembly, and distribution, plus 70 years of experience helping brands deepen their relationships with customers, we can help you create the ultimate experience for your customers.  

Contact DusoBox to learn how we can bring your subscription box to life.