Are you about starting a box subscription company? If YES, here is a detailed sample box subscription business plan template & FREE feasibility report. If you are looking towards leveraging on the eCommerce industry to launch a business that requires minimal startup capital, one of the many businesses you can successfully start in the industry is box subscription business. Subscription Boxes are boxes that contain an assortment of products – typically with a common theme, such as beauty boxes, pet boxes, or food boxes.
These boxes are automatically delivered for the length of your subscription. The majority of subscription box services keep each month’s specific box items a surprise. It is indeed a growing and profitable business in the united states of America. Below is a sample box subscription services business plan template that will help you write yours with little or no stress.
A Sample Box Subscription Service Business Plan Template
Table of Content
- 2. Executive Summary
- 5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
- 6. SWOT Analysis
- 7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- 13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
1. Industry Overview
Subscription boxes are a recurring delivery of niche products as part of a marketing strategy and a method of product distribution. Subscription boxes are used by subscription-based ecommerce businesses, referred to as “subcom” for short, which follows a subscription Business model. Instead of a one-time purchase, customers agree to automated online payments for the duration of their subscription.
Players in this industry target a wide range of customers and cater to a variety of specific needs and interests. It is estimated that there are 400 to 600 different kinds of subscription boxes in the United States alone and more overseas. Subscriptions vary in both cost and frequency, making them more accessible to a greater range of customers with different socioeconomic backgrounds. Subscription boxes tend to range from $10 to $100.
The eCommerce industry that box subscription service business is a part of is indeed a very large industry that can boast of creating business opportunities for loads of entrepreneurs all across the globe and generating multiple billion dollars annually. The industry generates over $1 trillion annually on a global scale. For example, in 2012, ecommerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time in history and the figure is still growing.
According to Wikipedia, “Among emerging economies, China’s e-commerce presence continues to expand every year. With 384 million internet users, China’s online shopping sales rose to $36.6 billion in 2009 and one of the reasons behind the huge growth has been the improved trust level of shoppers. The Chinese retailers have been able to help consumers feel more comfortable shopping online.
China’s cross-border e-commerce is also growing rapidly. E-commerce transactions between China and other countries increased 32 percent to 2.3 trillion yuan ($375.8 billion) in 2012 and accounted for 9.6 percent of China’s total international trade in 2013, Alibaba had an e-commerce market share of 80 percent in China.”
In recent time, loads of subscription commerce companies are emerging and of course growing rapidly. Since launching in 2011, Quarterly.co has doubled in size every six months. NatureBox, which launched in 2012, grows by 50-100 percent every month and BarkBox’s subscribers grew from 1,500 to 55,000 between 2012 and 2013.
A report released by Forbes shows that Birchbox, which is arguably the most recognizable service and valued at a reported $485 million in April, 2014, led the subscription box trend with its 2010 launch. Birchbox’s model of providing customers with samples of personal care products in order to upsell customers into buying the standard sizes of the sample products they enjoyed has proven to be a successful marketing tool.
Birchbox has reached nearly 400,000 monthly subscribers and has inspired many other companies to start utilizing subscription boxes.
It is important to mention that there are loads of advantages in starting a box subscription services business hence the increase in the number of players in this line of business. Some of the advantages of starting a box subscription business are low overhead, flexibility in choosing a location for the business and a wide selection of products from different manufacturing brands or wholesale distributors.
So also, if you start a box subscription company, then you will not have to crack you brain on how to source for money to lease of manage a warehouse, but on how to package and ship orders from customers, keeping track on inventory for accounting reasons, handling returns and inbound shipments and frequently ordering products and managing stock level.
Lastly, it is important to state that the eCommerce industry is regulated by a number of federal, state, and international regulatory organizations. So if you are a player in the industry, you are expected to play by the rules and regulations.
There are laws that govern e-commerce business, such law involves complex contract and tax issues, security, and privacy issues. Because technology changes swiftly, so also the laws regulating it are renewed on a regular basis.
2. Executive Summary
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is a United States based international beauty box subscription services company that delivers a wide range of high-end and drugstore products, effective skincare, statement-making makeup products, beauty tools and beauty products, amazing cosmetics like eyeshadow palettes and trend-savvy lip color, and luxurious haircare.
At least 4 of the 6 items our subscribers get each month will be full-size. The beauty box will be personalized at super affordable subscription. These boxes are automatically delivered for the duration of subscription of our clients. Our head office will be located in the heart of Mount Pleasant – South Carolina.
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. will run 24 hours a day and 7 day a week online platform, with effective and timely delivery system. Our payment platform is highly secured and we will only deal in non-Cash Payment.
Our payment platform will readily accept payment from credit cards, debit cards, smart cards, electronic fund transfer via bank’s website and other modes of electronic payment. Our inventory management of products is automated, our portal is designed such that it reports get generated instantly when required and our product inventory management is very efficient and easy to maintain.
We have a robust business relationship with shipping companies and we are going to be shipping goods for our clients at a highly-discounted price in and around Mount Pleasant – South Carolina. Our plans of partnering with beauty and health care wholesalers and manufacturing brands makes it easier for us to deliver products on time.
At Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. our staff are highly competent and dedicated to the company; they are trained to go the extra mile to resolve any complaints from our customers. Our phone lines are opened 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, with highly trained call center agents manning them and also customers can freely chat with us via our website at any time of the day.
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is owned by Zara Cornwell and her immediate family members. Zara Cornwell has a Diploma in ecommerce and a degree in Business Administration. She will run the business with other experience team members who have worked in similar business venture.
3. Our Products and Services
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. will make available a wide range of beauty and health products from top manufacturing brands in the United States and other countries of the world to our customers via box subscription.
We will have available in our Beauty Box high-end and drugstore products, makeup and skincare products, beauty tools and beauty products, amazing cosmetics like eyeshadow palettes and trend-savvy lip color et al.
4. Our Mission and Vision Statement
- Our vision is to build a beauty box subscription company that can favorably compete with leaders in the industry.
- Our mission is to establish box subscription service business that will make available a wide range of beauty and health care products from top manufacturing brands at affordable prices to a wide range of customers that will cut across different countries of the world.
Our Business Structure
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. intends starting small, but hopes to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading companies both in the United States and on a global stage. We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the kind of world class business we want to own. That is why we are committed to only hire the best hands within our area of operation.
At Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc., we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, creative, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit our stake holders.
As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;
- Chief Executive Officer / President
- Human Resources and Admin Manager
- Business Developer
- Information Technologist
- Call Center Agent
5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
Chief Executive Officer – CEO:
- Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results
- Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
- Responsible for fixing prices and signing business deals
- Responsible for providing direction for the business
- Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
- Evaluates the success of the organization
Human Resources and Admin Manager
- Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
- Maintains office supplies by checking stocks; placing and expediting orders; evaluating new products.
- Ensures operation of equipment by completing preventive maintenance requirements; calling for repairs.
- Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
- Carrying out induction for new team members
- Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
- Responsible for arranging travel, meetings and appointments
- Oversee the smooth running of the daily office activities.
- Manage the organizations’ website
- Responsible for continuous update of our online store
- Ensure that our payment platform is secured 24 / 7
- Responsible for installing and maintenance of computer software and hardware for the organization
- Manage logistics and supply chain software, Web servers, e-commerce software and POS (point of sale) systems
- Responsible for continuous upgrade and maintenance of IT systems
- Handles any other technological and IT related duties.
Transport and Logistics Manager
- Accountable for coordinating the transportation of boxes that are subscribed for
- Responsible for negotiating and agreeing contracts
- Answerable for developing and confirming schedules
- Responsible for preparing paperwork for regulatory bodies
- Responsible for liaising and managing staff
- In charge of planning routes and load scheduling for multi-drop deliveries (box subscribed for).
- Responsible for booking in deliveries and liaising with customers.
- Directs all transportation activities and develops transportation relationships.
- Responsible for monitoring transport costs.
Sales and Marketing Manager
- Manage external research and coordinates all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
- Model demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer
- Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts; participates in the structuring and financing of the business
- Writing winning proposal documents, negotiate fees and rates in line with organizations’ policy
- Responsible for handling business research, market surveys and feasibility studies for clients
- Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
- Create new markets cum businesses for the organization
- Empower and motivates the sales team to meet and surpass agreed targets
- Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
- Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports
- Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
- Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting
- Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
- Responsible for administering payrolls
- Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
- Handles all financial transactions for the organization
- Serves as internal auditor for the organization
Call Center Agents/Customer Care Executives
- Answering or directing inquiries.
- Ensures that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
- Through interaction with clients on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
- Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the organizations’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to clients when they make enquiries
- Receives parcels / documents for the company
- Distribute mails in the organization
- Handles any other duties as assigned by the line manager
6. SWOT Analysis
We are quite aware that there are several box subscription services in the United States of America which is why we are following the due process of establishing a business so as to compete favorable with them.
We know that if a proper SWOT analysis is conducted for our business, we will be able to position our business to maximize our strength, leverage on the opportunities that will be available to us, mitigate our risks and be well equipped to confront our threats.
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. employed the services of an expert HR and Business Analyst with bias in startup businesses to help us conduct a thorough SWOT analysis and to help us create a business model that will help us achieve our business goals and objectives.
Here is a summary from the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc.;
The fact that we have robust relationship with beauty products third-party wholesalers and manufacturing giants will definitely count as a strength for us. We have a well-coordinated and users’ friendly website and our customers can be rest assured that they will have their subscribed beauty box delivered to them in record time. Other areas of strength are; secured payment platforms, robust shipping network and excellent customer service culture.
A major weakness that may count against us is the fact that we are a new beauty box subscription brand and we don’t have the financial capacity to compete with multi – billion dollars’ online stores like Amazon and Alibaba.com when it comes to wider reach and selling products at a rock bottom prices.
There are unlimited opportunities in this line of business because part of the appeal of subscription boxes is that consumers discover products they might not have otherwise. This allows customers to try products and brands risk-free.
The increased exposure to new products helps customers discover optimal products of their preferences. While only some subscription boxes have return options, there are places online to exchange unwanted items. The subscription box industry is growing rapidly, thanks to a steady revenue model and tapping into people’s love for surprises.
A major threat that we will be confronted with is the fact that shipping costs and the need to constantly innovate present challenges to retailers offering the subscription service.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- Market Trends
Although this a Green business, but the trend is still emerging. One early subscription box available was called The Sampler, which first became available in 2004 and offered samples of products from independent web-based artists, crafters, zines and shops.
Critics of subscription boxes have examined the environmental impact of subscription boxes. Shipping goods over long distances require energy, however, the energy used to send subscription boxes is not always more than purchasing products locally. Contents in subscription boxes may not always appeal to the subscriber.
This leads to a waste of products and transportation costs. This affects the environment in the form of energy needs to get product to the customer, the natural resources to make the product, and the disposal costs to get rid of the product. Especially because some of the products that are sent can be purchased.
Lastly, subscription boxes are the perfect solution to indecisiveness and regret as they curate products according to a customer’s personal preferences, simplifying the process, and letting personalization become the center of the retailer-customer relationship in a way that encourages extreme loyalty.
8. Our Target Market
When it comes to selling products via the subscription box business model, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. In essence, our target market can’t be restricted to just female folks but all those who shop online for beauty and health care products from all across the globe.
In view of that, we have conducted our market research and we have ideas of what our target market would be expecting from us.
We are in business to distribute a wide range of beauty products such as high-end and drugstore products, makeup and skincare, beauty tools and beauty products, amazing cosmetics like eyeshadow palettes and trend-savvy lip color via the box subscription business model.
- Our Competitive Advantage
In recent time, studies show that subscription boxes are experiencing tremendous growth and popularity, and are also becoming increasingly competitive. As a matter of fact, the overall ecommerce industry has become much more intensely competitive over the last decade.
In essence, you have to be highly creative, customer centric, proactive and have a robust business network if you must survive in this industry. We are aware of the stiff competition and we are prepared to compete favorably with other leading box subscription services.
Part of what is going to count as competitive advantage for Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is the vast experience of our management team and our robust business network with loads of wholesalers and manufacturing giants; we have people on board who understand how to grow the business from the scratch to becoming a national phenomenon. Of course, our excellent customer service culture will definitely count as a strong strength for the business.
Lastly, our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category in the industry, meaning that they will be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and objectives. We will also give good working conditions and commissions to freelance sales agents that we will recruit from time to time.
9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. was established to distribute a wide range of products to a wide range of customers that cut across different countries via our box subscription services.
In view of the above, our source of income will be generated from people who subscribe to our beauty box and our beauty box will contain high-end and drugstore products, makeup and skincare, beauty tools and beauty products, amazing cosmetics like eyeshadow palettes and trend-savvy lip color et al.
10. Sales Forecast
One thing is certain when it comes to box subscription services business, if you have quality products from top manufacturing brands and your website is user friendly and your payment portal is secured, you will always attract customers cum sales and that will sure translate to increase in revenue generation for the business.
We are well positioned to take on the available market in the business and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income/profits from the first six months of operation and grow the business and our clientele base.
We have been able to examine the ecommerce industry cum box subscription services line of business, we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast.
Below are the sales projection for Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc., it is based on the business model we are running and other factors as it relates to small scale and medium scale box subscription services company startups in the United States of America;
- First Fiscal Year (FY1): $250,000
- Second Fiscal Year (FY2): $550,000
- Third Fiscal Year (FY3): $950,000
N.B: This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same products and customer care services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.
- Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy
Our marketing strategy will center on quality beauty and health products, reliability, swiftness in delivery, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. We will ensure that whenever our customers subscribed to our box services (place orders), they will get it delivered within the stipulated time frame.
We know that if we are able to put the above stated in place, we won’t struggle to retain our old customers and at the same time win over new customers.
We are aware of the power of the internet and we will do all we can to maximize the internet to market our business. In other words, a larger percentage of our marketing effort will be directed to internet users since our business is based on the internet; our website will become our number one marketing tool
In summary, Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. will adopt the following sales and marketing strategy;
- Introduce our box subscription services business by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to females in and around our business location, third party retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, Local stores, Search engines, Niche websites, and other key stake holders.
- Advertise our business in relevant beauty and health business magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations
- List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Leverage on the internet to promote our business
- Engage direct marketing approach
- Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients
- Leverage on e – mail marketing approach
11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy
We have been able to work with our in – house brand and publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market.
We are set to become the number one choice for online shoppers, third party retailers, manufacturers and other clients in the whole of the United States and beyond which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity and advertisement of our box subscription services company.
Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc.;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and beauty and lifestyle magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our services
- Install our Billboards in strategic locations all around the United States of America
- Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact wholesalers, manufacturers, third party retailers and other online retailers by calling them up and informing them of Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. and the products we sale
- List our beauty box subscription services company in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise our box subscription services company in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vans are well branded with our company logo et al.
12. Our Pricing Strategy
We know we don’t have the capacity to compete with Alibaba, Amazon or any other big retail store, but we will ensure that the prices of all the category of our boxes are competitive with what is obtainable amongst companies within our level.
In essence we will be charging our customers $15.00 per month subscription fee for our small beauty box, $25.00 per month subscription fee for our medium beauty box and $35.00 per month subscription fee for our large beauty box.
- Payment Options
The payment policy adopted by Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is all inclusive because we are quite aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.
Here are the payment options that Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. will make available to her clients;
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment via credit cards/Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines)
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via mobile money transfer
In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our client make payment for the subscription of the boxes listed on our website without any stress on their part. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials.
13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
We have been able to pull cash that will be enough for us to successfully launch a standard beauty box subscription services company in Mount Pleasant – South Carolina. These are the key areas where we will spend our startup capital to setup Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. in the United of America;
- The Total Fee for Registering the Business in the United States of America – $750.
- Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $1,500.
- Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
- The cost for hiring business consultant – $2,500.
- The cost for payment of rent for 12 months at $1.76 per square feet in the total amount of $105,600.
- The cost for Computer Software (Accounting Software, Payroll Software, CRM Software, Microsoft Office, Distribution Software and QuickBooks Pro et al) – $7,000
- Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $3,400.
- Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500).
- Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $100,000
- Cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $13,750
- The cost for the purchase of furniture and gadgets (Computers, Printers, Telephone, fax machine, cabins, tables and chairs et al): $4,000.
- The cost of launching a website/online store: $1,500
- The cost for branding: $5,000
- Miscellaneous: $10,000
We would need an estimate of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to successfully set up our beauty box subscription services in the United States of America. Please note that you can successfully launch this type of business from any part of the world in your bedroom with just a functional laptop, internet facility and the required software applications.
But if you choose to build a business with structure, a business that does not revolve around one man or woman, a business that has a robust network with wholesalers, and manufacturing giants, then you should follow the above business structure.
Generating Funds/Startup Capital for Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc.
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is owned and financed by Mrs. Zara Cornwell and her immediate family members. They do not intend to welcome any external business partners which is why she has decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital to 3 major sources.
- Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings and sell of stocks
- Source for soft loans from family members and friends
- Apply for loan from the bank
N.B: We have been able to generate about $20,000 (Personal savings $15,000 and soft loan from family members $5,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $80,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents have been signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited with the amount.
14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
Part of the plans we have in place to sustain Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. is to ensure that we continue to make available easy means of subscribing to our unique boxes, deliver quality services, improvise on how to do things faster and cheaper.
We are quite aware that our customers are key component to the growth and survival of our business hence we are going to continuously engage them to give us ideas on how to serve them better. We will not waste time in diversifying our services; expand our product and service offerings once the need arises.
Zara Cornwell® Beauty Box Subscription Service, Inc. will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and retraining of our workforce is at the top burner.
We know that if that is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.
- Business Name Availability Check: Completed
- Business Registration: Completed
- Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts: Completed
- Securing Point of Sales (POS) Machines: Completed
- Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
- Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
- Application for business license and permit: Completed
- Purchase of Insurance for the Business: Completed
- Leasing of office facility and remodeling the facility: In Progress
- Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
- Generating startup capital from partners: Completed
- Applications for Loan from the bank: In Progress
- writing of business plan: Completed
- Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
- Drafting of Contract Documents and other relevant Legal Documents: In Progress
- Design of The Company’s Logo: Completed
- Branding and Printing of Marketing/Promotional Materials: In Progress
- Recruitment of employees: In Progress
- Purchase of furniture, racks, shelves, computers, electronic appliances, office appliances, delivery vans and delivery bikes: In progress
- Creating Official Website for the Company: In Progress
- Creating Awareness for the business both online and around the community: In Progress
- Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement (License): Secured
- Establishing business relationship with third party retailers and other manufacturers and wholesale suppliers of beauty and health care products we intend retailing: In Progress