7 Pitfalls to Avoid in Subscription Box Fulfillment

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In order to hold your own in a competitive marketplace, you need to stay on top of your game. Desire to master subscription box fulfillment? Steer clear of these typical mistakes:

The membership box market is growing significantly crowded with thousands of boxes available. While business model is economical and relatively simple to start, a membership box business can be challenging to sustain. Of the subscription boxes tracked by industry site My Subscription Addiction, an estimated 13% had stopped production as of 2018, according to Fast Company. Order fulfillment is one of the greatest obstacles for membership box business. Peak order processing, unpredictable development patterns, slim revenue margins and high shipping costs are simply a few of the most common discomfort points.

Failing to Weigh Cost/Benefit of a Fulfillment Solution

Consider barcode scanning and powered conveyors prior to investing in light- or voice-driven innovation. Gradually increase the intricacy of automated services as required to achieve the service level your subscribers anticipate.

When designing a satisfaction solution, it is essential to stabilize service with cost. Naturally, you want to thrill your customers, however initially make sure your current order income can support the solution.

It’s best to prevent over-engineering. When investing in automation, this is especially true. Often the most basic service can be the most efficient and most versatile. While it may be tempting to add all the offered bells and whistles, standard solutions might, in reality, be enough.

Lack of Scalability

Planning for company development is likewise suggested. Look for scalable fulfillment services that can accommodate a broadening customer base. Stiff solutions requiring a major capital investment might lock you into a solution that does not work in the long term.

In a batch subscription design, orders are usually processed in a peak period once a month, resulting in substantial variations in cycle volume. Be prepared with versatile area and staffing. Including momentary personnel and powered conveyor assembly line can assist to handle maximum volume.

Inadequate Inventory Management Capabilities

For merchants that use the very same stock for multiple channels (i.e., membership, retail, ecommerce, etc.), inventory management can be particularly difficult. Typically, it is needed to allocate a specific amount of specific SKUs to each channel. Accommodating this level of complexity needs an order management system (OMS) that can provide you presence over all the channels and the ability to reserve units for orders in the suitable channel.

An OMS is likewise valuable if you utilize more than one fulfillment source, such as numerous distribution centers or vendors. In this case, you require presence throughout your whole business in order to enhance inventory.

Poor presentation

. Of course, bonus like these can be more costly and labor extensive, so make certain you have the resources offered to support them.

The “unboxing” ritual is an important part of the subscriber experience and typically shared on social media. To ensure consumer fulfillment, make sure to package subscription orders magnificently. When possible, consist of unique touches like tissue, ribbon, insert cards, etc.

Unrealistic Expectations for Order Accuracy

Undoubtedly, it is very important to thrill subscribers, however guaranteeing 100% accuracy is not sensible. Inspecting every order requires a financial investment that the slim margins of the majority of subscription box companies can not afford. A more common, cost-efficient method is to set an Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) for quality evaluations. This technique can be utilized to establish a maximum permitted percentage of flaws for outgoing and/or inbound shipments.

If you prepare to start working with a third-party satisfaction company, make sure to set quality expectations prior to beginning a relationship.

Failing to Communicate Proactively with Subscribers

Whenever possible, let your customers know what to anticipate with regard to their subscription orders ahead of time. Anticipating their concerns can help to guarantee a favorable consumer experience and develop subscriber loyalty.

When quality problems do take place, one of the biggest possible missteps is to sweep them under the carpet. If you understand that a subscriber’s order will show up late or damaged, for circumstances, be sure to let them know. They may be dissatisfied, but they will value the advance caution.

Ignoring Transportation Management

. For parcel deliveries, it is crucial to stay up to date with carrier rate boosts, dimensional (DIM) weight rates and possible surcharges for fuel, residential, delivery area, etc. Avoid accelerating deliveries needlessly. With tactically positioned warehouse, most deliveries can be delivered in simply 2 days utilizing more cost-effective ground services. Parcel analytics software application can help recognize chances to increase effectiveness and better manage expenses.

Excellent communication is likewise critical. Be proactive in interacting with delivering partners. Advise them of schedule modifications or changes in the size or weight of bundles from month to month.

While competitors is heightening, avoiding risks like these can assist your business stand apart and make your share these days’s $ 10 billion-plus membership box market.

Transportation can be one of the most tough aspects of subscription box fulfillment, and it is essential to think about a variety of elements when assessing shipping choices. For shipments filled on trailers, take care to take all shipping costs into account, including the cost of pallets, dunnage for ensuring loads do not shift, etc.

Nicole Lee is director of fulfillment for Saddle Creek Logistics Services


Order fulfillment is one of the most significant difficulties for subscription box companies. In a batch subscription model, orders are typically processed in a peak duration once a month, resulting in substantial variations in cycle volume. To ensure client complete satisfaction, take care to package membership orders wonderfully. Checking every single order needs an investment that the slim margins of the majority of membership box business can not pay for. Transportation can be one of the most difficult aspects of subscription box satisfaction, and it is crucial to think about a range of elements when assessing shipping options.

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