There are lots of ways to make money online, but some of the options could be considered a bit boring or time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make money by doing something fun instead? Like, I don’t know, shopping for beautiful things?
Sounds impossible, right? Well, actually it’s not, thanks to a new craze that has taken the world’s consumers by storm — ‘subscription boxes’. Today, we’re going to be showing you a fun, creative way you can make money by selling subscription boxes on Cratejoy.
What Are Subscription Boxes?
Most of you will probably have already heard about subscription boxes, but for those of you that haven’t, they’re basically boxes that are delivered to your house at regular intervals in exchange for a monthly subscription payment.
They’re often filled with gift items like candles, cosmetics, and books. It’s kind of like buying a present for yourself but still being able to be surprised by the contents when it arrives.
For shopaholics, subscription boxes are a convenient way to scratch your consumerist itch and treat yourself to some nice items.
However, here at Merry for Money, we don’t like to conform to the outdated feminist stereotypes that all women love to shop. Instead, we took a look into how savvy entrepreneurs can make money from the subscription box hype, and we found that there are actually a few different ways to do it.
In this article, we’ll take a look into the popular subscription box eCommerce platform ‘Cratejoy‘. Read on to find out more about the ups and downs of this subscription box marketplace, as well as how you can use it to build your own subscription box business.
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What is Cratejoy?
Cratejoy is really two things in one:
- A marketplace (kind of like Etsy or Ebay) for subscription boxes
- An all-in-one subscription eCommerce platform
The Cratejoy marketplace provides customers with a website where they can browse hundreds of different subscription boxes from independent sellers. It also provides subscription box sellers (that’s you) with a neat place to list their products to generate more sales.
But it’s the all-in-one subscription eCommerce platform that we’re really interested in. In layman’s terms, this is basically a software service that allows you to build your own online subscription box storefront.
Cratejoy isn’t the only eCommerce platform software provider out there; there are many more. Shopify, WooCommerce, and Weebly are just three names that spring to mind.
However, it is one of the only eCommerce platform designed specifically for subscription box businesses.
This is important, as subscription box stores have very different operational needs than standard online retail stores. Mainly because subscription box purchases are recurrent purchases, as opposed to one-time purchases.
So what kind of features does Cratejoy have that makes it the perfect eCommerce solution for subscription box businesses? Let’s find out.
Here are the main features you get with an all-in-one Cratejoy subscription:
- Your own custom-built website for your subscription box business
- Customizable website templates that allow you to get creative and brand your store effectively
- A free listing of your subscription box on the Cratejoy marketplace
- Analytics to help you track traffic and sales
- Shipping and tax-smart checkout (Cratejoy helps to calculate costs and shipping rates based on where your customer is located, the weight of the box, etc.)
- Logistics and fulfillment management features
- Integration with other CMS platforms and payment gateways like PayPal
- 24/7 customer support
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How To Start Selling Subscription Boxes With Cratejoy
Ok, now that you know what Cratejoy is, let’s break down the basic process you’ll need to follow to start making money selling subscription boxes. You’ll essentially be starting your own business, so the exact process will differ from person to person, but here are the basic steps:
Step 1: Market Research & Planning
The first thing you’ll want to do is to gather some intel. You’ll want to find out what gap you think there is in the subscription box marketplace by browsing other listings. Which kinds of boxes sell and which don’t? Who are your target market and what do they like to buy?
Use this research to determine what you’re going to sell in your subscription box, and for what price. Make sure you have an idea that’s profitable. It goes without saying, but there’s no point selling a subscription box for $40 if it costs you $50 to fill it up!
It’s also a good idea to choose to sell something you’re personally interested in. For example, if you’re into skincare and cosmetics, you could perhaps do a monthly skincare subscription box. That way, you get to make money while shopping for products you already know a lot about and enjoy learning about.
Step 2: Sign up to Cratejoy & Create Your Online Website
The next step is to sign up for the Cratejoy eCommerce platform. If you’re still unsure whether or not you want to invest in a Cratejoy subscription, the good news is that you don’t have to just yet.
You can start off with a 14-day free trial to try out Cratejoy and see if you like it. You don’t even need to put in your credit card details, so there’s really no reason not to!
Once you’ve signed up, you can create your website and storefront. Pay a lot of attention to your branding. Design brand images and use colors that you think your target audience will want to see, and that represents your subscription box.
If you like Cratejoy after your 14-day trial is up, go ahead and pay for a subscription and start selling. Your boxes will automatically be listed on the Cratejoy marketplace and will hopefully be selling themselves.
If not, you’ll need to find a way to market yourself and make more sales, which brings us to step three…
Step 3: Marketing, Growth, and Scale
If your subscription box is already making sales, great— but there’s still a way to go from here. You’ll want to grow your business and get to a place where you’re getting enough regular sales to make a full-time income.
To get there, you’ll need to utilize marketing. There are many different ways to market your subscription box business, but here are a few ideas to look into:
- Paid advertisements (Google ads, Facebook ads, etc)
- Social media marketing (Create business social accounts on sites like Twitter and Pinterest and use them to drive sales)
- Influencer marketing (you could consider sending out your boxes for free to popular YouTubers and Instagrammers for free publicity)
- Search marketing (start a blog and try to get traffic from Google)
- Video marketing (start a YouTube channel and use it to push traffic)
I’d also recommend watching the free webinars that Cratejoy offer to find out more ways to grow and scale your business.
How Much Does it Cost?
If you just want to start selling subscription boxes on the Cratejoy marketplace and aren’t interested in building your own storefront, you’re able to do this and list your boxes for free.
However, to sign up for the all-in-one eCommerce solution costs $39 per month + transaction fees. If you think you might be interested in the eCommerce solution but you’re unsure about the price, you can also try out the platform for free for 14 days.
Aside from the cost of using the software, there are also some other costs to take into consideration, such as:
In order to sell your boxes, you’re going to need to buy actual boxes. Some sellers use simple cardboard boxes and others use boxes that feature designs and logos in-keeping with their branding.
Branded boxes will cost more than regular boxes, but they can help to give your business an air of authenticity. If you’re unsure where to get your boxes from, Cratejoy has a partner, BoxUp, that supplies boxes ideal for subscription boxes.
In some cases, shipping will be paid by the customer but, if you want to be able to offer free shipping to your customers, you should take into account the costs before adding the option to your listing. Prices vary amongst shipping companies and Cratejoy also offers discounts with their various shipping partners.
If you’re unsure how to calculate your costs to make sure you will make a profit, Cratejoy offers a downloadable costs calculator that may help to make things clearer.
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How to Make More Money from Your Cratejoy Business
Selling boxes on the Cratejoy marketplace is a great place to start if you’re new to the world of eCommerce. However, due to the high volume of boxes that are listed in the marketplace, making a lot of sales can sometimes be difficult. With that being said, there are a lot of things you can do to make your Cratejoy business more lucrative, such as:
Work Hard on Your Listing
In the Cratejoy marketplace, having a great listing is probably the most important part of making sales. When you’re preparing your listing, take time to ensure that it tells the customers everything they need to know. Taking high-quality pictures of your box is a must if you’re hoping to attract a large volume of customers.
It’s also a good idea to include YouTube videos in your listing to help customers get a better idea of what they’re paying for.
Have a Unique Selling Point
In my opinion, one of the drawbacks of Cratejoy from a consumer perspective is that there is a lack of variety when it comes to the types of boxes available.
Whilst there are some great boxes on offer, a lot of the boxes centre around a generic ‘pamper’ theme and include things like bath bombs, mugs, books, etc.
In order to stand out from the crowd and get ahead of your competitors, it’s a good idea to have a think about ways you can make your box more interesting and unique. If your box is one of a kind and stuffed with great items, you’re sure to secure more sales.
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Alternatives to Cratejoy
There are lots of different ways that you can make money by starting your own eCommerce business. In addition to Cratejoy, you can use sites like Etsy and Shopify to sell goods online.
To help you to find the right platform for you, we took the liberty of comparing Cratejoy with a few of their competitors to see how they differ.
Cratejoy vs. Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace that can be used to buy and sell handcrafted items. If you’re thinking about using Cratejoy as a way to sell your own crafts, Etsy may be a better fit. With Cratejoy, you’re limited to selling subscription boxes so, unless you’re looking to make a box full of your creations, or pair it with other items, Cratejoy probably isn’t the best option.
On Etsy, you can find a wide variety of handmade items, gifts, and collectibles being sold at a variety of different price points, so you may find that Etsy is a little more flexible than Cratejoy.
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Cratejoy vs. Shopify
Shopify is a great alternative to Cratejoy if you’re looking to build your own eCommerce brand. Just like Cratejoy does, Shopify helps businesses to create an eCommerce brand to sell goods online. If you’re interested in creating your own eCommerce website, but you’re not specifically looking to sell subscription boxes, then Shopify may be the better choice.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions available. In some ways, it’s a lot more flexible than Cratejoy as it hasn’t been made specifically with subscription boxes in mind. As a business owner, it will allow you to create a website, organize products, manage orders, and accept secure credit card payments.
If you’re looking to sell goods like clothing, skincare, or branded items, then Shopify can help you to create an all-encompassing website that is fully set up to take payments and start making sales.
Ok, that about covers it. Hopefully, you now have all the information you need in order to start your own subscription box business— the rest is up to you! If subscription boxes don’t sound like your thing, you can find tons of different ways to make money online here, so go ahead and take a look around!
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