A Spotlight on a New Business Dependent on Mail-Order Fulfillment.
I have a successful coffee subscription box business that focuses on fresh coffee from small-market areas like Hawaii, Mexico, Bolivia and Ecuador (among others). We have a large subscription base and the drop-off is minimal. What most people don’t know is that it took a long time to get here, and my first business was an unmitigated disaster.
Years ago I tried to start up a monthly-wine club business. It was a great idea: wine and chocolates, delivered to your door, every single month. I could see lots of adult couples, single women, wine collectors and more subscribing and getting a new bottle of wine every month. I thought I was a genius.
Well, in six months it went belly-up. Partly it was because (I found out later) there are several restrictions on buying wine online in a dozen states, which severely limited my market potential. But mostly, people weren’t really interested in the monthly subscription plan. People wanted to go to the store when they had an impulse and pick out the wine they wanted.
As it turns out, I was just way ahead of my time.
It first started with amusing advertisements for BlueApron. com.
Now there are hundreds of cool subscription boxes to choose from. From Graze (offering four healthy snacks with each box) to Birchbox (offering beauty products), it seems like everyone is discovering that the convenience of subscription boxes is totally worth it.
And why are people flocking to subscription boxes now? As opposed to ten years ago for my wine business?
Free Shipping. And Fast fulfillment. Fulfillment services like the ones this website represents are the reason these businesses are becoming so popular. You can subscribe and be absolutely certain that each box will arrive on time, for free, and there will be absolutely no cash-on-delivery or any other nonsense that used to kill the package delivery industry in the past.
Pretty nice, right? It’s amazing how if you work hard to remove a lot of the hassles your customers experience, you will open yourself up to growth like you never imagined!
What Can We Do To Keep Improving?
There’s three ways: keep it free, make it faster, and make it higher quality.
We have developed some very cool subscription boxes that keep sensitive materials from breaking during the shipping process. If we continue to develop this technology, the wide range of products that can be offered in this industry will continue to expand.
Make it fast: we can always work on assembling these gift boxes faster than we do now. We can’t make the delivery companies move faster (although they are working on it too!), but we can go from customer order to parcel pick-up in as little time as possible.