business advice for payments

You’ve had a totally brilliant idea for a subscription box company, and your research tells you that there’s already a huge market full of potential customers out there just waiting for you to jump in. Now you’ve got to fill your box. How to go about it? Try these simple steps to making sure that you can stuff your customer’s mailbox with products they’ll absolutely adore every single month.

Define What Your Customers Want Before You Begin

When you love what you’re selecting for your customers, it can sometimes make procurement more difficult. If you’re not careful to first define exactly what it is that your customers love (not just like), then you might be tempted to include items that you find attractive but that don’t match exactly what you’ve promised to send. You’ll want to think about the experience they’ll have when opening the box – is there something that they can use right away? How will the items look when they’re all nestled in there together?

Look at Niche Markets Online

Etsy is the obvious motherlode here – if you’re looking for unique products that you would never have even dreamed existed, you’re going to find them. A crocheted Mary Shelley stuffie holding a baby Frankenstein? Check. Cufflinks made from a teaspoon bearing the seal of Idaho? Check. Olive oil soaps, vegan biscotti, hemp coin purses? Check, check, check. Of course, there are many other excellent locations online where you can find what you’re looking for, like Direct Eats and Thrive Market for a foodie box, or Chewy and Pet Mountain for a pet-based box. The time that you spend searching online will be amply rewarded with special treasures that your customers will go crazy for.

Let Them Reach out to You

You’ll always need to keep looking for great products, but procurement can go the other way too. When suppliers solicit you, you’ll get a wide range of products to select from, many of which you might not have been able to find if you hadn’t been the visible one. Join a group in which potential suppliers can hawk their wares – then select only the best to do business with.

Don’t Forget Local Stores

Can you really find something perfect for your niche at a big box store like Target or Bass Pro Shops? It’s completely possible, and best of all, you can buy them right away and get a good idea of how they’ll look inside your box. But local stores also include smaller shops. Consider working with local artisans like a candle maker or creator of bath products who may be able to supply you with incredible products that your customers truly won’t be able to find anywhere else. Even if you don’t find something you like locally, you’ll definitely get inspiration from walking around, holding different types of products in your hands, and pondering what it is that your base really likes best.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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