Since Birchbox hit the scene and proved just how effective and profitable subscription models could be, the subscription box industry has seen a significant rise in demand and popularity. Just to give you a glimpse of how effective this model can be, the industry has grown by over 100% per year with the total subscription eCommerce market generating well over $2.6 billion in sales in 2016 alone. In 2018, the collective sales for some of the biggest subscription box retailers skyrocketed to a whopping $7.5 billion and there are no signs of the industry slowing down anytime soon. 


By mastering the subtle art of creating an effective and captivating subscription box design that persuades consumers to subscribe, there is no reason why your subscription company can’t get in on the piece of this pie. Consumers are looking for the perfect unboxing experience that sparks an emotional connection to your product, your brand, and your company, so why not give them what they are looking for.


If you are ready to jumpstart your subscription brand and reap the rewards, we have created a handy guide on how to create the perfect subscription box packaging that is guaranteed to knock the socks off your consumers.


Subscription box packaging

The Importance Of Subscription Box Packaging

Even though the figures above seem appealing, it is important to know that a lot of hard work goes into gaining and retaining customers. The subscription box industry has become flooded, which means that the competition is strong out there and if you don’t keep up with the changing trends and demand, subscribers will start canceling. Subscription models require a loyal fan base in order to continue competing in the space, which is why your subscription box packaging needs to be a top priority. A well-branded and packaged product gives consumers a positive first impression and a promise of what’s to come when they unbox it. These positive emotions make your consumers feel like they have just received something truly special, which goes a long way in leaving a lasting impression. The happier your subscribers are, the more likely they are to continue with their subscription. 


Subscription box unboxing experience

Choosing The Best Custom Subscription Packaging For Your Products

The journey to subscription box greatness begins with the materials. Before selecting a box type, you will need to first consider what types of products you’ll be offering, how much they weigh, and the size of all the items that will be in the box. 


Sustainable packaging material has become top of mind for most consumers. Due to the new eco-friendly mindset society has adopted, you also want to look for materials that are easy to recycle and don’t have too much impact on the environment. Fortunately, most packaging suppliers understand this global problem we are facing and have shifted towards using sturdy, yet sustainable packaging materials.  


These are some of the most common types of sustainable packaging options to choose from:


Mailer Boxes – This is a popular choice for most eCommerce and subscription box packaging because they are stronger than most paper-based boxes and provide extra protection for products during shipment.

Corrugated Shipping Boxes – these are a great option for fragile and delicate products as they provide more protection against damage when compared to mailer boxes.

Folding Cartons – These lightweight foldable boxes are more suited for retail goods, beauty products, perfumes, and food. The material is sturdy and holds vibrant print well, however, it is best not to use this type of packaging as it may get damaged in the shipping process. 


In addition to choosing a sturdy packaging material, you also need to decide on what packaging size you are going to use. You don’t want your products to be forced into the packaging, but you also don’t want your products rattling around in a huge box either. The size of your box will also affect the shipping costs, so it is a good idea to factor this into your budget. 


Unboxing experience  

The Packaging Design – Telling Your Story

Using your brand to tell a story has become one of the most important aspects of packaging design, especially in the eCommerce space. The way you design your subscription box packaging should be used as a clever marketing tool that separates you from the competition in a unique and compelling way. Your branding should be striking, memorable, and crafted in such a way that it builds a lasting impression with your customers. You want subscribers to get excited about your product and to do this, you have to give them an extremely appealing visual experience. 


To start, think about the color of packaging as your canvas, then build on it by adding complementary colors, some striking graphics (if it suits your brand), and of course some really great content and typography to finish it off. Sometimes more is less and if your existing logo can pull it off, then perhaps that is all you need. Just think of how Iconic the Amazon Prime packaging ‘smile’ is; simple, yet effective.  

The Extras For A Memorable Unboxing Experience 

For subscription boxes, there is no tool more powerful than social media. The internet is flooded with satisfying unboxing videos and the truth is, once we see one of those videos, we also want to get on the action. Think about the experience of opening your product from the consumer’s perspective. Does it make you excited to open the box and reveal what is hiding inside or is the process of opening your subscription box packaging a little bit anticlimactic? By thinking about the unboxing experience, it will help you identify small things you need to improve on. Another way to add a little bit of drama to the experience is to use visual extras like branded tissue paper or ribbons. These thoughtful extras give the packaging a premium touch that makes the consumers feel like they are opening a beautiful gift that was carefully wrapped for them.