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3 Simple Things We Get Paid to Explain about Subscription Boxes

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Since Bulu Box launched in 2012, we’ve worked with thousands of brands and shipped nearly 20 million samples. Cut to 2018, and there are tons of Subscription Box companies on the market. Consumer brands have proven that partnering with a Subscription Box company is a powerful way to achieve your marketing and sales goals, but how do you know what Subscription Box program is right for you? 

When companies hire Bulu Box and begin our Turnkey Subscription Box Solutions process, here are 3 key points we cover about Subscription Boxes.

#1 Know the "why" of your goals

When used strategically, a Subscription Box program can help your brand achieve a variety of goals. Before you start developing marketing materials or manufacturing samples, consider your goals and why they are your goals because you can quickly become overwhelmed by all of the opportunities that are part of a Subscription Box. 

Some companies demand a strict ROI on sampling programs, and some don’t. Often, this depends on whether your sampling programs are a function of your marketing department or the sales department. Similarly, some Subscription Box programs can provide a report or other metrics to help you understand your Subscription Box program’s efficacy – but others do not. For example, with Bulu Box and many of the Turnkey Subscription Box programs we build for other brands, we offer a comprehensive data dashboard to sampling brands to review their customer samples surveys and other metrics. 

Brand Awareness and Customer Acquisition

Want more hands on your brand? Increasing brand awareness or acquiring new customers can be done by distributing a product, sample or marketing materials (i.e., a coupon or informational insert) in a Subscription Box. 

How do you measure brand awareness? Are you looking for a particular type of Social Media response or similar metric? Be sure that you can measure this, or that the Subscription Box program can provide this data back to you. 

Additionally, some programs offer supplemental marketing via their Social Media, dedicated emails or other promotions. These campaigns can be used to educate, engage or inspire the Subscription Box customer even more – it's worth spending the money to try out! 


You want to sell more product. Duh, of course, you do – and sampling is a great way to convert new users!

Again, it’s a matter of outlining your goals, the why and understanding what a Subscription Box program offers. Are they selling your product on their website, directing their customers to another site to purchase, or can they point customers to specific retail locations? Can they target regionally?

Some of our most successful Subscription Box programs were with brands who sampled and regionally targeted zip codes as they launched in areas with new retail locations. Whatever you choose, be smart: give the Subscription Box customers unique offers, coupon codes or redemption tactics so that you can track that ROI! And remember, you will get out of the program what you put in.

#2: Partner with a Subscription Box who has the right audience for your product and offer. Or not and get creative!

Subscription Box programs are reaching very niche audiences; there is a Subscription Box program for nearly every type of person, lifestyle and hobby. Some programs with a broader audience can provide demographic targeting, too. 

If you’ve just launched, rebranded, reformulated or maybe have excess inventory and you’re not sure what your target audience is, a Subscription Box sampling program that provides data back to you can be an excellent "focus group" test. Be prepared if you’re experimenting that the program might not be a success in a traditional sales sense – if your goal is better understanding your customer, then that data return is going to be key. 

On the flip side, you can also experiment with audiences to learn more. For example, why not put a Men's razor in a women's Subscription Box during No-Shave November with a funny note? "Pass this razor on to "that guy" who needs to shave that thing he calls a mustache off his face as soon as No-Shave November is over. You know the guy we're talking about." -Compliments of Fake Razor Company

#3: Ensure that Subscription Boxes are the best option for your product. 

Yes, the guy who founded one of the Subscription Boxes is telling you that Subscription Boxes might not be the best option for your product. We determine this for Bulu Box brand partners by discussing the product and the goals. The best example of this is a use-case product such as a cold remedy if the company’s goal is sales. If the customer who receives the product doesn’t currently have a cold, what’s the use of your sample? Sure, some customers may hold onto the product or give it to someone else. But if your goal is sales, you won’t see those immediately in this situation. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with a Subscription Box program, however! Including a special offer and educational materials can provide that same sales lift or brand awareness. 

It's simple, right? First, know why your goals are your goals and focus on them. Second, make sure your Target Audience fits and if it doesn't get creative. Last, be okay with saying no. 

We build Subscription Box programs for some multi-billion dollar brands, and we're always surprised when they haven't thought of these three things. Actually, we're not surprised because everyone gets busy, excited or exhausted and forgets the basics. We're here to make sure you don't!


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