Posted on December 12, 2014 by Michael Boik

Seven Reasons to Right Size Your Subscription Box

An oversized box is like pouring money down the drainIt is not at all unusual for us to get a call or email from someone ready to launch a subscription program and they describe the size box they need as “something a little bigger, just in case”.

That bigger is better, just in case decision can be a very expensive one, and make the difference in the success or failure of your subscription box program. Here are seven good reasons why right sizing makes sense and will help you reduce your costs.

  1. A bigger box than you really need is more expensive to buy, since ultimately the price is determined at least in part by the amount (square inches) of corrugated board that is used to make it.
  2. A bigger box than is truly necessary is more expensive to store. Square footage is expensive, even when you are home based and your warehouse is your garage. The best way to reduce your price on any plain or custom printed box is to buy the right size, in quantity, which enables you to buy more of them, less frequently, and at a lower price. That is what we call a win/win.
  3. A smaller box is less expensive to ship inbound (to you). You know shipping cost for “delivered” or “free delivery” pricing is built into the price of the box so you are paying for it, one way or another. More boxes per pallet = less pallets= lower inbound shipping cost.
  4. A smaller box results in lower outbound (to your customer) shipping costs. This is a biggie and if you have not already begun paying “dimensional weight” you will be after January 1st. Essentially your shipping costs will be determined by the number of cubic inches your box takes up in the truck, not by the actual weight if your box is lighter than normal. Of course if your box is heavier than normal you will pay a higher rate. That is what THEY call a win/win for them. This is going to be a killer for some marginally profitable subscription boxes and we have been working on weight reduction programs for some people since mid-year. We work with board weights, different designs, etc. in an effort to help customers reduce shipping weight but the number one piece of advice we give people: the easiest way to reduce shipping weight is to reduce the box size.
  5. A small box packed with product makes a much better impression than a large box filled with the same product. We call it the Easter basket syndrome where packaging is intentionally, deceptively enlarged to make the consumer think they are getting more than they really are. I am convinced when a subscriber thinks they are not getting “value”, they usually drop out and try someone else’s box.
  6. Using a larger box than necessary typically means adding ancillary packaging or fill. Void fill adds cost and also adds weight which increases shipping cost. For example – tissue paper should be included to add color or enhance the customer experience, not to take up or fill space.
  7. The smaller the box, the easier it is to secure the product(s) in place and avoid damage during shipment without inserts, or other void fill.

One solution - size appropriate boxesHow to handle those occasional unusual large items?

We often hear, “What if one month I decide to ship something larger?” Our response to you might want to use a second/different container, even if it is unprinted and you have to use labels for one month. If you see that happening more frequently, you may want us to help you create a second branded box, mailer envelope, tube, etc. but if it only happens occasionally, your subscribers will quickly forgive you if the oversized item you are shipping is desirable.

One thing you may have noticed is that the largest subscription companies in the country do not try to use a “one size fits all” concept for shipping, they have two three or even four different containers to better fit the product(s) they are sending their subscribers that particular month. I understand and am sensitive to the fact that having multiple size branded shipping boxes when you are first starting out may be cost prohibitive, but soon shipping costs might make that an easier decision to make.

Bottom line – Seek knowledgeable, experienced packaging help

Most subscription box owners are entrepreneurs and marketers, not packaging professionals with decades of experience. However, that valuable knowledge is typically available to you for free and all you have to do is ask. Contact Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a no cost and confidential review of your packaging goals or challenges. Please remember, this may be your first subscription box but we have helped to launch over a hundred of them and most of them are doing quite well and growing.

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