How to Find the Right Products & Suppliers for Your Subscription Box Business

 In Inventory Management, Subscription eCommerce

Are you a business owner with a subscription box service? Then you’re doing a great thing for your customers, who need high-quality, useful, and exciting products delivered now more than ever.

To stay in business, though, you’ll have to make sure your products are what your customers really want and are sourced from reliable subscription box suppliers—reliable in both quality and speed of delivery. Your whole business model will live or die based on sourcing. So how can you best find products for subscription boxes?

1. Decide What Types of Products Are Best

When starting a subscription business, you should begin with a laser-focused purpose. Don’t start with some product you like and only then look for an audience to sell it to. Instead, start with an audience you care about and a specific problem they have. Maybe they need: 

  • Books
  • Makeup
  • Healthy foods
  • Comfortable clothes to wear at home
  • Indulgent bath kits
  • Pet products

Visualize a single person in that audience and what he or she needs and wants. Make a list of the products that will solve their problem (even if it’s just being bored at home). Then, move those products around in your list to imagine combinations that he or she could use up in a month. 

2. Find Suppliers and Sources for Those Products

Once you’re happy with several hypothetical boxes you could send out—ideally, around six months’ worth—you’ll need to search for suppliers and start to contact them. 

Where can you look? It depends on the type of product. Do you want small batches of handmade products? Large batches from foreign manufacturers? Or wholesale products from domestic brands? Decide what will make your ideal customer happy, and start searching.

Here are some methods of (a) finding product inspiration and (b) approaching vendors:

  • Browse local stores and thrift shops to get product ideas and examples
  • Research relevant keywords in search engines, related eCommerce sites, Instagram, Pinterest, and Amazon
  • Look up unique products on Etsy, then contact product makers directly to ask about the product volume they could handle
  • Research large orders of generic products on international marketplaces like Alibaba
  • Check out wholesale orders of name-brand products from domestic stores like Joann Fabrics, Target, Best Buy, or Walmart

In a subscription box business model, should you start with vendors who supply free trials of products? While keeping your costs down is great, we recommend offering vendors fair compensation for their work when you first approach them. You need reliable partners for the long-term. However, don’t turn down free products when they’re offered. Pass the savings on to customers!

3. Assemble and Kit Products into Your Subscription Box

Once you receive your products, it’s vital to place them in your subscription box packaging in an attractive way. When was the last time you received something in the mail that was a delight to unbox? Try to replicate that process, and imagine the look of joy on your customer’s face. This is a crucial way to keep that subscription income flowing in.

As you grow, you may find that you need help with the manual work of order fulfillment. Remember, Elite OPS can provide custom kitting and inventory management for your subscription box service, ensuring you never lose an order or deliver it late.

Do you have any questions about how we can help you with your subscription box business? We’re happy to show you how to make a subscription box, interface with suppliers, and much more. Contact Elite OPS now to discuss your needs.

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