Subscription Box Design: How To Make a Winner

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Subscription Box Design
Image via The Dieline

Three rules for winning at subscription box design and creating a loyal following


Subscription boxes are an increasingly trendy method for introducing and engaging consumers with novel products, as well as catering to committed consumers of niche products. But it’s not just what’s inside the box that counts; subscription box design is also important. In fact, the packaging is your first chance to make a great impression.

There are weekly, biweekly and of-the-month clubs for every kind of enthusiast: shaving goods, beauty supplies, cigars, bacon, health snacks, wine, jerky, hot sauce, beer­— even the Cannabis industry has followed suit with all manner of direct mail marijuana products. However, while the tide is certainly rising for subscription boxes, the question then becomes: how do you differentiate yourself in an ever-expanding market?

Though we love jerky, we aren’t experts on the contents of a winning subscription box— we are experts on packaging and subscription box design.

You can and should be making as much of an impact with your presentation as possible and, to help, here are our…

3 Rules for the best in Subscription Box Design


1.)  Make it Shareable: Maximize exposure in the digital age

The simple brilliance of the subscription box proposition is ‘the gift that keeps on giving,’ a monthly indulgence that is both a personal pleasure to receive and a shared experience with other subscribers. But how to choose which subscription? Many prospective buyers turn to Google, YouTube and social media platforms where unique hashtags allow subscribers to post photographs (birchbox has over 380k tags on Instagram alone), videos and descriptions of their haul.

“Unboxing videos” are a viral social media trend in which individuals capture themselves opening a subscription box (or any new product actually), which can garner hundreds of thousands, often millions, of views.

The key staples of an unboxing video are the “reveal” moment- opening the box- and the discussion of its contents- what was good, what wasn’t. Far beyond a typically written product review on a retail site, unboxing videos offer free, organic marketing impressions made in perpetuity, on multiple platforms, by users themselves and are consumed like entertainment.

The first impression your subscription box makes on future customers is no longer your controlled marketing campaign but the box itself! So make it social media worthy- either through function, material or decoration. Make sure your presentation is tweet-able, gram-able, like-able and share-able.


2.)  Make it like an App: User experience is not just for tech

Many subscription boxes come in a simple die-cut shipping carton. This is appropriate for budget subscriptions that focus on offering a value package, whose subscribers care more about getting “a deal” vis-à-vis the contents, and for whom the brand is of little consequence.

The practical risk with such basic packaging is that many can show up damaged, and delicate products can be smashed or broken. The greater risk is not differentiating your brand in an ocean of similar subscription offerings.

How your audience relates to your brand is 99% experience: how did it make them feel to interact with your product? Carlos Soares Moreira, head of business development for GlossyBox, a premium beauty subscription, knows where it’s at: “Last year we changed the box so that it takes 0.8 more seconds to open. So, to open GlossyBox, you have to take the lid of the box, then untie the ribbon, then take the seal off and take the tissue off.” That’s 0.8 more seconds of anticipation, of ritual, making their customers feel that they are opening something special, something valuable.

The double box approach adds unquestionable value: extra packaging means extra protection of the goods. An outer mailer offers the option of end user privacy or a customizable canvas, and the inside rigid box is your stage for brand presentation— so make it memorable!


3.)  Make it Precious: Keep that box on their shelf longer

Unlike intentionally flimsy folding boxes, the beauty of rigid set-up packaging is that it is built to last. Using reinforced or natural fiber cover materials like bonded leather, laminated paper, or book cloth can also add to the premium feel of your package while also increasing its durability.

With these capabilities, why not design a package as a keepsake? Create something that can be re-purposed in the home or workplace and increase your exposure to a bonafide group of potential buyers.

Friends like what their friends like— make sure they see your brand in your customers’ environs to qualify your subscription box.

Taylor Box brings an unlimited spectrum of construction styles, colors, textures, decoration methods and design capabilities to your project, and offer short lead times so you can be on trend every time. Don’t miss the opportunity to make the right first impression with your subscription box- contact us today to get started on your brand-building packaging.


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