Product Procurement & Curation for Subscription Boxes

A walkthrough of procurement and curation. Learn how to select the perfect products for your subscription box and keep your customers impressed month after month.

A walkthrough of procurement and curation. Learn how to select the perfect products for your subscription box and keep your customers excited month after month.

Product Procurement & Curation for Subscription Boxes – Transcript

It’s that special time of the month: when your customer gets to see what’s inside their subscription box. It’s here you can either create a loyal customer or give reason for a cancellation. Today, we’re talking procurement.

Procurement is the process of choosing the items that go inside your subscription box. These are the “goods” that make your subscription so appealing – like your fine cheeses or cat toys. There’s a methodology behind it, and it starts with knowing who your customer is.

Customers are often understood by the target market or niche they fall in to. These are highly definable, unique segments of people, based on buying behaviors or certain preferences. When doing procurement, the first thing you need to do is figure out who falls in your target market.

Here are a few suggestions for determining your niche:

Now that we know who are customers are, we can start to figure out what it is they want. These are your value propositions, or unique selling points that make your product so compelling. It might be monetary value, or the allure of learning new ideas, an aspect of discovery, or maybe even changing the world. Ask yourself: what do your customers want?

Let’s recap: now we know our customer is and what motivates them to purchase. Are we ready to buy our product yet? Almost.

Before we set off down that road, we’ve got to make one thing clear: building a box with variety and aesthetics in mind is essential. Because your package comes every month, your customers are going to want something new and exciting. They’ll also want a beautiful arrangement of high quality products. The takeaway: remember to keep your items FRESH and COOL.

When it comes to negotiating with vendors, the nature of your subscription business can have a big affect on the conversation. For example, a discovery, sample product subscription business might procure items differently than one that doesn’t emphasize discovery. Why? Because your customers are different. If you qualify customers as the type that want to try before they buy, tell that to vendors – you might be able your items cheaper, or even for free.

Another tool you can use in procurement are sales resources that help keep your team informed about value propositions to vendors. This might include a product shot of your box, and stats about social media and your demographics. The idea here is to paint a compelling picture as to why the business might want to get involved. Make your merits clear!

As your products begin to arrive, be sure to test them in your box and see if the design is working out as planned. If you need to, make any adjustments as early as possible to ensure the best experience possible.

Most importantly, reflect on this strategy throughout the month. How can you improve you pitch to vendors? Has anything changed about your customer base, and does that affect your value propositions?

When you keep the big picture in mind, you’ll find that procuring the perfect box can be a fun, rewarding process.

Until next time, this is Jesse with Subscription School.

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.

2 Responses

  1. Keri

    Thanks for all that you teach to those of us learning the ropes! Does it ever make sense to procure a wholesale license? For example, if I want to include a book as a resource in my box during most months, would it be beneficial to obtain licensing to purchase books at wholesale? If so, are there any good resources that detail this process? Thank you so much for your time!

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