How to Make Packing Lists for Subscription Boxes (and 15+ Examples)

Packing lists are custom inserts you include in your subscription box that include production more, prices, and more. See real-world examples plus helpful tips on how to create your own.

Susbcription Box Packing List

The unboxing experience is that moment when a subscribers receives their box, opens it, and sees what’s inside. Beyond the initial engagement and checkout experience, this is one of the most important points in the customer journey, and in large part, helps determine the potential of churn and overall satisfaction.

There are a number of things that go into the unboxing experience, and one of the cornerstones of this experience comes down to the “packing list,” or list of contents.

Packing lists generally tell the subscriber what was in the box, what those items are worth, and why they were chosen. Of course, depending on the niche of your subscription, your packing list may serve a number of different roles.

Some essentials to keep in mind:

  • Theme: Each box has the opportunity to be defined by some specific theme or message. Using your packing list slip, you can include a few sentences about a theme or explain to your subscribers how and why you chose the items you did.
  • Product descriptions: Rather than simply listing the items on a packing slip, consider writing descriptions. You can talk about the manufacturer, the specific product itself, or how it relates to the theme.
  • Accurate MSRPs: Dollar value can be an important thing to add to packing lists. While your value proposition to customers may not be one focused on monetary value alone, including these numbers can help customers feel like their purchase was justified.
    • Note: If your subscription is focused on smaller, sample or trial sized items, MSRPs may not be applicable. See Birchbox’s example below.
  • Opportunities for CTAs: Packing lists are a huge opportunity to include an additional CTA or “call to action” in the box. You can draw attention to a referral program, points or rewards program, or simply to your social media channels.

Creating Your Custom Packing List:

A few steps will go into your packing list, and because sizes, formats and branding varies, we’ll focus only one the very basics:

  1. Choose your size or format, such as a 5×7 or a ‘Brochure’ style pamphlet, or something else completely!
  2. Once you product sourcing has been completed, provide all product information to whomever designs your packing list.
  3. When designing your packing list, make sure to export it with at least .125” bleeds on all sides. Bleeds are used to provide additional margin for print shops when they cut and size your printed material. (Ask your print shop if this is needed).
  4. Approximately one week before packing, make sure your design is completed and has been submitted for proofs at your print shop of choice.

Examples of Packing Lists for Subscription Boxes:

Here are some examples of packing lists that are used in a range of subscription boxes.


Yogi Surprise
Yogi Surprise’s packing list includes small pictures on the left, and descriptions on the right. 
 

Photo Credit: Subscription Box Mom
Photo Credit: Subscription Box Mom

Wet Shave Club includes a 10-step guide to using their products for a wet shave. 

My Texas Market 2

My Texas Market includes a ‘roster,’ as seen in the top right. 

My Texas Market

My Texas Market also includes a theme card (top left of above) 

Photo Credit: Official Tru Bros
Photo Credit: Official Tru Bros

Loot Crate has included tri-fold pamphlets, with a central image surrounded by descriptions 

Photo Credit: Baby Dot 74
Photo Credit: Baby Dot 74

Loot Crate has also included more standard 4×6 sized cards, as seen above. 

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh includes their packing lists on their ingredient/recipe card for easy reference. 

Photo Credit: Subscription Box Mom
Photo Credit: Subscription Box Mom

Thread and Flourish includes a post-card sized packing list atop the products in the box. 

Photo Credit: My Subscription Addiction
Photo Credit: My Subscription Addiction

Escape Monthly uses tri-fold pamphlets, with a theme description on the left and product descriptions on the right. 

Photo Credit: Mary Qin
Photo Credit: Mary Qin

The cover of the Escape Monthly pamphlet profiles that month’s destination 

Photo Credit: Bflyrenee
Photo Credit: Bflyrenee

Citrus Lane provides a vertical folding packing list, with a standard post-card size. 

Photo Credit: bisouadieu
Photo Credit: bisouadieu

Beauty Joy provides a standard, white paper with a watermark and descriptions. 

 

Photo Credit: makezine
Photo Credit: makezine

Whimsey Box included a packing list at the top, then CTAs in the bottom center, along with a description on the bottom 

 

Photo Credit: My Subscription Addiction
Photo Credit: My Subscription Addiction

The Gentleman provide an icon-driven packing list without specific brands or prices mentioned 

 

Photo Credit: mstapioca
Photo Credit: mstapioca

Birchbox has varied with their packing lists, but they are usually post-card sized and include full-size MSRPs + call to actions to buy full size items 

 

Photo Credit: maryjozefiak
Photo Credit: maryjozefiak

Another shot of Birchbox, who uses the front for a theme and the back for the actual packing list. 

Customization is Key

As you can see, there are major differences between packing lists, both across boxes and even with the same boxes. Consider your audience, box size, and how you can best approach providing a packing list to customers.

Questions or comments? Leave them in the comment box below!

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About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

4 Responses

  1. Christina

    What site is best to use to print packing lists? I am having a hard time finding a way to customize the postcard in order to create it so that it’s in “list” form with small pictures next to it. Any suggestions would be appreciated, thank you!

  2. Will Cratejoy ever allow customers to print a traditional packing slip? My boxes are not all the same.

    Preferred would be name, address, what they signed up for and answers to the survey.

    This has been my biggest challenge so far (one year in). It is a bigger challenge that products, packaging, shipping, payment, finding subscribers, etc.

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