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Everything You Wanted to Know About Selling Subscription Boxes In Europe

Ecommerce Subscription Box of Socks

In this article, we’ll cover the different approaches to the subscription box model, as well as tips on how you could build your own subscription box ecommerce brand.

Subscription boxes have taken the world by storm. Just a few short years ago, the subscription box model was unfamiliar to most consumers. It started off in the US with brands such as Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox, and Candy Club launching the box model into success.

The trend has now spread across the globe and is emerging as a popular choice for European consumers. 

What we cover in this article:

What is a Subscription Box? 

A subscription box is a recurring regular package of products delivered to a consumer. The contents of each package are niche-oriented and vary from delivery to delivery. Subscription boxes are delivered by mail and contain an assortment of related products for the consumer to enjoy. 

Ecommerce Subscription Box
Ecommerce Subscription Box

Most subscription boxes are delivered on a monthly basis, though they can vary from weekly to quarterly. What makes subscription boxes unique, is the surprise factor. Every month, new products from a brand are delivered to the customer’s door, bringing something new and exciting along with it. 

The Impact of Social Media on the Subscription Box Trade 

One of the key factors that have contributed to the growth of the subscription box trade in recent times is social media. Many brands have developed long-term partnerships with influencers across large social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok in order to drive sales, grow their subscriber count, and improve brand awareness. 

These partnerships have been in the form of product unboxing videos every month and regular posting about the brand. Brands that have utilised influencer marketing in this way have benefited hugely. For example, a yoga and fitness blogger who collaborates with a yoga subscription box company will result in excited followers, waiting to see what new products have arrived each month. Utilising influencers’ platforms to generate hype around their subscription box has led to the success of the trade to soar. 

European Subscription Box Growth 

As mentioned above, the subscription box trend began in the US and has skyrocketed endless brands into major success since. In recent years, many US brands have explored expanding their delivery into the European market. 

Europe is a lucrative marketplace with access to 550 million people. That is almost double the population of the US! So, if subscription boxes are hugely successful in the US, why are so many US brands struggling to break into the European market? The answer is tax and customs.

Subscription boxes that are being shipped from the US to Europe are frequently caught in customs. There are then high taxes being imposed, making the process much more difficult and lengthy for brands to deliver their goods. These barriers to a quick and smooth process are then resulting in slow delivery and unhappy consumers. 

This is where a 3PL such as RedSky can assist eCommerce retailers. Brands can use the expertise and facilities of an order fulfilment company based in Europe, in order to avoid high taxes and long delays. 

Since the COVID-19 implications, almost 50% of all online sales in Euro have been from consumers who have never before ordered online. European consumers are purchasing online at a much higher rate than ever before. Overall, in the past six months, there has been a huge spike in online traffic within Europe. Right now is the perfect time for US brands to bring their subscription box model across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. 

Why Consumers Like Subscription Boxes So Much

  1. Less Decision Making 
  2. Convenience 
  3. Curation

1. Less Decision Making

More often than not, consumers are aware that they want to purchase a product, though do not know how to decide which one to buy. The more choices a customer is faced with, the more increasingly difficult it becomes for them to settle on a decision. Subscription boxes remove the element of choice and indecision. Subscription boxes are curated based on each customer’s product preferences. This removes the need to choose between a variety of items, as the perfect products for you will be delivered directly to your door, month on month.

2. Convenience 

There are a wide variety of products that consumers need and want to purchase on a continuous and regular basis. An example of this can be seen in the first-ever subscription box service in the US, Book of the Month Club. Every month, a new book, tailored to the consumer’s likes and preferences is delivered to their door. For many avid readers, purchasing a new book every month is desired, though going to a bookstore and browsing for hours is largely time-consuming. Signing up for a subscription box such as this one is ultra-convenient and suitable for such consumers. Other examples of convenient subscription boxes include razors, toothbrushes, dog food, and flowers. 

3. Curation 

For a large number of subscription boxes, the products in each box are tailored to the needs and preferences of each consumer. This can be seen in the above-mentioned Book of the Month Club, or other subscription boxes such as wine delivery, make-up, beauty and so many more. Consumers love the idea of receiving a box of products curated to meet their personal tastes. It makes the recipient feel special and raises the standard of the brand in the consumer’s mind. 

European Subscription Box Tips for eCommerce Merchants

For eCommerce retailers that are considering Europe as a potential market for your subscription box service, here are our tips for success. Your business needs:

  1. A European Targeted Website
  2. A Localised Return Address
  3. To Work with a 3PL

1. A European Targeted Website

The first tip to success is to create a European targeted website. This should include ‘.eu’ or a ‘/europe’ in the URL to highlight to consumers that your business is in and is committed to the European market. 

2. A Localised Return Address

Ensure your business has a localised return address set up within Europe. If the return address is in the US, consumers are less likely to buy from your business as there are taxes and tariffs involved in the shipping of items outside of Europe. 

3. To Work with a 3PL 

Working with a 3PL like RedSky Europe offers your business multiple benefits. Third-Party Logistics companies such as RedSky Europe, remove the middleman. Instead of your business receiving goods from the manufacturer and then sending them to an eCommerce warehouse, the 3PL can receive the goods directly from the manufacturer. In turn, cutting costs.

3PLs also have volume discounts, saving your business money on shipping contract costs and delivery time. 3PLs have the ability to scale up and down whenever suits your brand. If it is a busy or quiet time for your business, a 3PL will ensure everything runs smoothly, regardless of the volume of subscription boxes required.