Cratejoy Review

Subscription boxes are well known by everyone by now. They have been around for a while, to everyone’s delight. However, subscription box business platforms are somewhat new. New as in they came up two or three years ago. You may be thinking that in internet years that is a long time, and you would usually be right, but the exploitation of this niche is still going up, which is why more and more subscription box platforms make their way to the top. In many people’s view, that means new.

Launch
Unlimited customers & traffic
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All core features to run your store successfully
Website designer & builder
Embed checkout on your existing website
Custom domain
5% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
Grow
Unlimited customers & traffic
Chat, email & community support
All Launch plan features +
Design your checkout
Order exporting
Blog section
Email template editor
3% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
Scale
Unlimited customers & traffic
Phone, chat, email & community support
All Grow plan features +
100% whitelabeled
Monthly phone consultation
1% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
 

One of the firsts platforms was Cratejoy, created by Alex Morse and Amir Elaguizy back in 2014, but the beta version was released about a year later. Since then, the company from Austin Texas had a huge success. They even have waiting lists. Another successful subscription box platform is Subbly. Its founder is Stefan Pretty, and while his business is smaller than Cratejoy, he takes great pride in that because he has the chance of helping all of his subscription business owners. He says, and this is his exact expression, that he actually gives a sh*t. In fact, he promotes customer care more than anything else, which makes Subbly one of people’s favorite. The details will be sorted out later. Of course, there are a few others, but that is not this article’s topic, so we will just leave them at those two.

Austin, TX sunset via Flickr

Regardless of their first steps, those platforms are manna from heaven for many people. On one hand, we have the recipients of the subscription boxes who like to receive lovely things each month. It is a small present that arrives at your doorstep every month. You get to love your mailman and consider him some sort of Santa. Many times you do not know what is in the box, even though you pay for it, but it is indeed something that makes your day a little bit better and brighter. Worst case scenario is that you get some stuff you do not love, but at least they belong to a category you like.

The best thing about subscription boxes is that you have a vast variety of kinds to choose from. The platforms mentioned above provide a very, very wide range of goods, which is why people who learn about them do not go to the old-school subscription finder. No more finding something by accident. You just pick your likes and BAM. The box is at your door, you love the things inside. The business that sent it to you makes money, and you feel good about your box. Everybody wins here.

On the other hand, we have businesses, and here is where things get even better. Let’s say that you want to start a new subscription box business, but you do not have the means to do it. You have a few options. You can make your own website, but that requires a bit of effort and time. If you work in the field, it may come easy, but if not, you need to hire a developer and do all those things for you. Then, you need to work on promoting your website, which we all know that cost money. It is not ideal, but when you do not have alternatives, you need to spend money to make money. And then you wait. Does that seem feasible to everyone? Of course not, which is why subscription box platforms are more than welcome.

The fact that subscription box platforms help a small business owner make some profit is something that got a lot of people excited. The fees differ from platform to platform, but the good thing is that more and more platforms come up, and as a result, the competition rises. We all know what that means. The prices will lower as well. After all, that is how competition works. You no longer have to worry about building your site and promoting your business because the subscription box platform will do that for you. When you think about it, the solution is simple but brilliant.

What exactly is a subscription box platform?

If you want a definition, a subscription box platform is a website that helps business owners acquire clients by posting their business online. That is the simple version of the meaning, but undoubtedly the extended and technical version will bore you, which is why I think it is more important to know what it does for you rather than getting familiar with the technicalities.

A subscription box platform allows entrepreneurs to earn a stable, recurring online income while delivering monthly presents to subscribers.

There are two points of view that may interest you. A subscription box platform can be seen through the eyes of the two most important parties: the business owner and his/her client. As a client, a subscription box platform is a place to go if you are looking to have interesting and lovely things delivered. For example, let’s say that you love comic books, but you do not want to go out and buy them every time your favorites are released. No problem. You enter the website, choose the box that contains your comic books, hit subscribe, and the comic book will be at your doorstep in the mentioned timeframe. Simple, convenient, and it is not expensive either.

As a business owner, the offer seems even better. Your business is exposed, you have the opportunity to get a lot of clients (which basically translates to profit,) and all that requires minimal effort. You must pay a fee, of course, but that depends on the platform you choose to build and promote your business. Lucky for you, you have where to choose from, and since the competition is increasing, the prices become lower and lower. Or you get more features for the same price. Whichever it is, you have only to gain on multiple levels.

How does it work? That is even simpler. You only need a product. Once you have that, you can set up an account, work on the details, and post your subscription box. Some platforms, such as Subbly, allow you to go through all that process in a matter of minutes, which works great for you. After that, you just wait for subscribers. And trust me, they will come. Thousands of people are interested in what you have to sell, and it is almost impossible for someone not to stumble upon your delightful box.

The platforms usually let you customize your page, and Subbly even enables you to write your own code if you want it. You can create fantastic themes so that you can attract new clients every day. It is a beautiful thing, and it would be a pity not to take advantage of it. And let’s not oversee the marketplace. The marketplace is enormous, to say the least, and that makes it nearly impossible to not have profits. Of course, as with anything else, it may take some time, but after a while, you will meet your expectations.

To sum up, a subscription box platform is a simple and convenient solution for business owners. There is minimal effort, you can get clients right away, and you can keep track of what is working and what is not. Some platforms provide analytics, and payments are easy to handle. With such software, you have both the will and the way to become a successful business owner. That is what you want, after all, is it not?

Getting familiar with a subscription box website builder

This section is mostly interesting for subscription box business owners, but if you are interested in how the platforms work, be my guest and enjoy. We all know that launching a business can be daunting. There seem to be a hundred of things to be done before launch, and the waiting period after can kill a lot of them, which is why so many people now refer to subscription box platforms. And why wouldn’t they when things are a lot simpler, right?

You might need a team to help you start your business. Credits to John Bell from Flickr.

You may have heard about this ‘website builder’ feature, and if you are not familiar with what it means, then you should really stick around. However, the most important thing to remember is that a subscription box platform and a subscription box website builder is pretty much the same thing. How is that? Let’s take a look at the process, shall we?

When you want to launch your business online, you need a website. It seems easy at first, but not really. That is if you are going to create an attractive page with a custom theme and not use one of those default themes in WordPress. Now, if you know programming, then you may have an easier time, but few people do. And even if you know how to write code, it will take you a while, and since time is of the essence, you win some and lose some. You may spend days working on your website, which we both know that is not ideal.

Things get messier if you have no idea how to set up a website. That means you need to hire a web developer, and even a decent one does not come cheap. You need to pay the man, and since you are just starting a new business, money is not laying around at your discretion. Also, do not forget about maintenance or other services like SEO. The latter does not come cheap either, but you do not want to be on the 7th page in Google, do you?

After you have the website, you need to promote your site. It goes without saying that you need to spend money there as well. Of course, you can use a few ways that are cheap, but the results will not hurry, and that is what you need the most. The whole thing may seem simple at first, but when you break down the steps and see what each and every one of them require, you will not think that way anymore. And here is where subscription box website builders come in.

Both Cratejoy and Subbly provide an easy, convenient, and efficient way to create your own page, customize it and run it as you please. Of course, there are a few rules, but all of them can be found in terms and conditions. They say that they are website builders, but not really. You will have a page that will act and produce revenue precisely as a website would, the only difference being that you do not have to invest so much effort (in terms of time and money) in creating it. And that is why it is called a subscription box website builder.

The point is that you will not be required to create a website, but you will have a page on the subscription box platform that will act like one. It may not be the same, but the results are, and that is what everyone is looking at the end of the day.

One other thing you should know is that if you already have a website, but you want to increase your revenue by using a subscription box platform, you can embed the checkout experience onto your site using a very neat and easy to use widget. I am not familiar with all subscription box platforms, but I do know that Subbly has such an option, and I find that very helpful. If you do not want to throw away the work you have done so far and just give your business a boost, you can, and that in itself is simply amazing.

Hopefully, the explanation is clear. The subscription box platform will help you create and customize your page as if it were your own website. All such platform provides detailed dashboards, you can use plug-ins, widgets and whatnot, and you can enjoy the experience with minimal effort. At the end of the day, that is every business owner’s dream.

Subbly vs. Cratejoy

As I mentioned in the beginning, among the subscription box platforms existent at this moment, there are Cratejoy and Subbly. I mention these two because they are the biggest at the moment. They have millions of subscribers, and the number of transactions every day is through the roof. Also, business owners, as well as subscription box lovers consider these two the ‘to go’ marketplace whenever they need it, so it is only natural to make a comparison.

First of all, both these platforms were created with the purpose of helping small business owners to launch their product in a convenient and cheap way. As I mentioned before, there is no need to struggle with creating your website, you do not have to spend too much setting up your account, and the entire process is hassle-free.

Launch
Unlimited customers & traffic
Email & community support
All core features to run your store successfully
Website designer & builder
Embed checkout on your existing website
Custom domain
5% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
Grow
Unlimited customers & traffic
Chat, email & community support
All Launch plan features +
Design your checkout
Order exporting
Blog section
Email template editor
3% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
Scale
Unlimited customers & traffic
Phone, chat, email & community support
All Grow plan features +
100% whitelabeled
Monthly phone consultation
1% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
 

Both platforms allow you to integrate them into your existing website. How does that work? Let’s say that you have been in business for a while and you currently have a website. However, you want to use a subscription box platform as well to boost your profits. Lucky for you, the creators of Subbly and Cratejoy thought of that and allow you to use your site and their services at the same time. Cratejoy can be used as a backend platform for your subscription. All you have to do is link your subscribe button (on your site) to the subscribe page on Cratejoy. With Subbly, the process is slightly different. You have the option of embedding the checkout experience onto your existing site using a widget that they provide. It is simple, clean, but it will do one heck of a job. You will notice a considerable change in your conversion rates.

Cratejoy gives you endless possibilities to customize your pages, and so does Subbly. Here is yet another similarity. Cratejoy provides high-quality themes, and you have where to choose from. Also, if you know how to write code, you can bring your own HTML, CSS or JS, although JS is not available for Cratejoy. Subbly, on the other hand, adds new themes regularly and provides a vast range of choices. The good thing about it is that you may have an x number of themes this month, only to have twice as much in two months. You can create your own fantastic themes, make them more appealing to your customers, thus generating more profit. The wiggle room that the two platforms provide as far as custom pages are concerned is of tremendous help. If you cannot afford a web developer at first, you can choose a theme, and once you have enough money to hire one, you can create whatever you want. It’s that flexibility that people are attracted to, which is why more and more set up an account with the two platforms.

Both Cratejoy and Subbly have a 14-day free trial period. That means you can set up an account, see how things are going for two weeks, and then decide whether or not to stay as a member. Sure, you may be inclined to think that nothing can happen in two weeks, but you would be surprised. Also, two weeks is more than enough to become accustomed to the software, play a little with the dashboard and learn how everything works. If you like it, you can go ahead an stay as a member, if not, you can leave anytime with no strings attached. You do not even have to put in your credit card information, so do not concern yourself with additional fees.

Speaking of fees, here is where the differences between the two platforms strike. They have different charging systems. It is up to you to decide which one is better. First, we have Cratejoy, with a monthly fee of 39$. That price includes pretty much all the features Cratejoy has to offer. However, keep in mind that Cratejoy also charges per transaction. The charge depends on where the sale originates. If you make a sale on your website (which is linked to Cratejoy), then the transaction fee will be 1.25% 0.10$. If the purchase is made directly on Cratejoy, then the charge is 11.25% and 0.10$. Also, credit card fees are separate. That may be one of the reasons some people leave Cratejoy for other platforms like Subbly. Subbly, on the other hand, comes with three packages. You have the Launch package that costs you 29$ per month, the Grow package that is 79$, and the Scale package that is 189$ per month. As for the transaction fees, for the first package, the fee is 2%, for the second is 1%, and for the third is 0.5%. Stripe fees are another story and are not included in the price. Each package comes with amazing features, and even if you use the Launch package, you still have everything you need to get started. To sum up, as far as pricing goes, Subbly seems to be a bit cheaper than Cratejoy, which is why users love it so much.

The user experience is pretty much the same on both sites. You have everything you need to manage your account on the dashboard. The dashboard itself is easy to use and comprehend. You can manage your account, your subscribers, and your payments from one place. You also have analytics and everything you need to keep things in check. Subbly promises advanced analytics soon, so it remains to be seen what they surprise us with.

One other thing that is worth mentioning is that Subbly is bootstrapped. They receive no funds from anywhere other than the money they get from their services. You may wonder what does that have to do with anything, but the answer is quite simple. It gives courage to users. It is a lot easier to handle your business when you have external support, and it is a lot more challenging to manage with what you have. Subbly has reached this high on its own legs, so to speak. And it continues to do so. They do not need external help. All they need is the support and trust of their clients, and that is something that is worth admiring, don’t you think?

Subbly has another feature that makes things easier for their users, which appears to be their only purpose these days. In order to improve your business, you must always be in touch with your customers. You can enhance your services only by finding out what they love and what they do not. Well, Subbly provides a remarkable feature precisely for that purpose. You are given the opportunity to collect information and survey your customers during the checkout process. That way you can listen and make the changes according to your collected data. How neat is that?

Launch
Unlimited customers & traffic
Email & community support
All core features to run your store successfully
Website designer & builder
Embed checkout on your existing website
Custom domain
5% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
Grow
Unlimited customers & traffic
Chat, email & community support
All Launch plan features +
Design your checkout
Order exporting
Blog section
Email template editor
3% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
Scale
Unlimited customers & traffic
Phone, chat, email & community support
All Grow plan features +
100% whitelabeled
Monthly phone consultation
1% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
 

Last but not least, customer care. One thing that people complain about when it comes to Cratejoy is that you cannot give them a call. You can register a ticket, you can email them, but you cannot talk to them on the phone directly. Subbly, on the other hand, is very well known for the excellent support. If you are lucky, you can reach Stefan himself (the founder and CEO), but you would have to schedule a call. Subbly takes great pride in their customer care, and while they may have fewer users, their tech support is flawless. They keep adding features based on customer feedback, and if that does not scream ‘fantastic customer care,’ I do not know what does. After all, this is a platform created for the customers, and their opinion actually matters for the people from Subbly. Hats off for that!

While the two platforms are selling the same thing, they handle your business slightly different. If you do decide to become a member, at the end of the day, it is up to you which one you choose. But at least you know what the differences and similarities are, and you can get a clearer picture. Hopefully, that helps.

You can get a Cratejoy coupon

Try Subbly for free. Click here.

It comes as no surprise that you can enjoy numerous deals and coupons on Cratejoy. After all, coupons are a huge part of eCommerce as much as anything else. Not only that they are a part of marketing strategies, but people respond very well, and that may bring you some long-term clients. People like when they get a deal on their favorite subscription box, and it does not even have to be substantial. Whether it is a 5$-off deal or a 20% off coupon, they enjoy it all the same.

As for where you can find Cratejoy coupons, you can get them on pretty much all websites that handle this stuff. If you go to sites that manage coupons, inevitably you find some for Cratejoy. You can get coupons, Cratejoy promo codes, and whatever else you can think of. You can also buy vouchers as gifts. Subscription boxes are an excellent idea when it comes to gifts. Whether you want a gift for your mom, wife or girlfriend, you cannot go wrong with a subscription box. Men products are just as popular, so you do not have to spend very much time on looking for the perfect gift.

However, be advised that there are plenty of fake promo codes. For example, you can get a few search results that would tell you to use some promo codes for November 2017, but in fact, you are redirected to a forum where people have already used the coupon, and it will not work for you. That is why my advice is to access only websites that are specialized with coupons, offers, deals, promo codes and whatnot. You will not go through the trouble of looking for too long, and that way you at least know that the coupon is valid and will only be used by you.

How to find and develop subscription box business ideas

E-commerce is a field where many people make money easily. Not easy as in no effort, but easy as long as you have a good subscription box business idea and you have a head for that sort of thing. Not all people do, so if you know your way around a small business, you can consider yourself fortunate that you have the opportunity to make a profit with little effort. Finding a good idea may not be hard, but it is not easy either. You need to cross a few things off the list so that your idea would come through.

You need to find a business idea. Photo from Flickr.

First, you need to take a look at the competition. If you are lucky enough to think of an idea that nobody has thought before, then your business will go smoothly. People look for virtually anything these days, which makes it impossible for you not to get subscribers. If not, you need to take a look at what you are competing with in a field where there are enough subscription box business owners. Lucky for you, there are enough tools you can use to do that.

Now, your idea must have a few properties that can guarantee your success. The worst thing you could do is choose randomly. That is not how things work. There needs to be a demand for what you are offering, which is why a little bit of research is more than recommended. Here is what you should go for:

  • Develop a product that attracts an existing community of enthusiasts – think big on this one. Generalize as much as you can. When you have a list, cross off everything you think may go wrong. It is a matter of guts as well here, so if you have a good instinct, you cannot fail. If not, research can save you from this one as well.
  • Always go with evergreen products – in commercial terms, evergreen means something that will never go away, something people will always need so that your business will not die slowly. If you found an idea to incorporate that, you are good to go. However, make the difference between evergreen for a few years, and evergreen forever. I know it sounds silly to say that something is evergreen just for a while, but it happens. Let me give you an example. While The Lord of the Rings was an ongoing phenomenon, people bought products related to the franchise, but it died out a little while after they were done. You get the point. Examples of evergreen products are beauty and cosmetics items, books, sports equipment, and so on.
  • Products that satisfy a recurring need – to follow this property, your subscription box should fulfill someone’s needs after they are done with your previous box. Beauty items, supplements, and everything that can become finished after a while is a good choice. If someone finds a good product in your subscription box, when they finish it, they will order another one. Simple as that.
  • Self-development products – people who like books, art, Do It Yourself projects will always be curious to know what you prepare for them. If you have a good taste, that will work to your advantage, and you can get plenty of subscribers. As I mentioned above, a good idea will always sell. Worst case scenario is that you will get a handful of people that have the same tastes as you have, and that is not to be neglected.
  • Boxes filled with happiness – these subscription boxes will always work, but only as long as you have a bit of originality because there are plenty of people who provide happy boxes. They are subscription boxes for children or for pets, which is why they are called that way. You can make a kid happy, or a puppy happy. Either way, you cannot fail with that, but remember the originality, okay?
  • Lifestyle boxes – if you want to go with this category, again, you need to be a bit original. Your box should contain everything a person who has a particular lifestyle needs. Let’s take a person who likes fitness, for example. What you provide should be precisely what that person needs, like sports equipment, supplements, and so on.
  • Emotional products – it is a bit mean to refer to this category as emotional products, and you have to be really sensitive when it comes to this. Some people may identify with whatever story you may have, but the best thing about it is that you can provide some comfort of whatever sort. Just be careful not to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities and be sensible about it.

Your subscription box idea should not and cannot follow all the properties mentioned above, but try to keep at least three of them. That way you know that your success is coming.

How to make your own subscription box business plan

At the core of your business plan should be the idea. As long as you have a great idea, the rest is a logical process that you need to follow. However, that does not mean your work is done. You still have a long way to go. But in all honesty, the idea part is the most difficult. It is easier to develop something you have rather than having nothing, am I right?

Launch
Unlimited customers & traffic
Email & community support
All core features to run your store successfully
Website designer & builder
Embed checkout on your existing website
Custom domain
5% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
Grow
Unlimited customers & traffic
Chat, email & community support
All Launch plan features +
Design your checkout
Order exporting
Blog section
Email template editor
3% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
Scale
Unlimited customers & traffic
Phone, chat, email & community support
All Grow plan features +
100% whitelabeled
Monthly phone consultation
1% transaction fee for refer-a-friend tool
 
 

After you found the perfect idea, you need to do some research on potential clients. Of course, your idea is already suited for a particular category of people, but you need to take it a step forward. You need to look into competitors to see what they are offering so that you can have something extra. Some competitive analysis is also required. You can use polls, you can analyze the market for your niche, or you can even ask family and friends what they think about your product. Any piece of information is valuable while going through this step, so do not leave anything to chance. If it helps, you can use online services to host polls, but that will cost you a little bit. The point is that market research is valuable at this moment, so take your time to do it right.

The next step would be to put together your box. You need to make it as appealing as possible so that potential clients show interest in it. As for the rest, you need to establish the size since shipping is essential, and you want to put as much as you can in a box of your choosing. Nobody wants a box filled with air. The number of products is also important, but do not forget about aesthetics. Depending on the niche, you need to make the content look as lovely as possible. Before trying the products inside, the client will lay eyes upon it, and a messy box may reject potential clients.

Getting ready for the launch is the next step. You need a marketing strategy, and launch pages can help a great deal. You can attract customers by asking to write in their email address with the promise of extracting a winner of a free box at the end of the session. You can promote your subscription box using your social media pages or however else you see fit. The goal here is to have traffic. Make sure that your subscription box platform page is appealing as well.

Your presale campaign is a small part of your key to success. You need to gather presubscribers, and that is when your business is ready to become live and accepting payments. Make sure that you keep your list of presubscribers updated so that you make them eager to subscribe. After that, all you have to do is send out the boxes and enjoy your success.

Keep in mind that not all subscription box business plans are the same, and what works for you may not work for anyone else. That is why research is critical, and you need to personalize your plan according to your niche, clients, and habits.

What are the most popular subscription websites?

Try Subbly for free. Click here.

To get a clearer picture of what you need to do, you can take a look at the most popular subscription websites on the market. That way you can see what they are doing right so that you can take note. Here are three of the most successful today.

  1. com – nutrition is an evergreen category, and if you play your cards right, you cannot fail. This particular website has an excellent layout, it radiates health through the vibrant colors and big, bold font. It has excellent results in search engines, and it does well overall. It is worth it to take a look.
  2. com – this subscription website has gained its popularity by having a vast interaction with the subscribers. They engage in seminars, webinars, chat rooms, and forums. They have over 170 thousand subscribers, so you should definitely check it out.
  3. com – this website has an offer hard to refuse, and their strategy is bulletproof. You can either sign up for a trial membership that provides 24 guitar lessons, or you can pay the monthly fee of only 19.95$ and have access to over 11 thousand lessons. Do you see what they did there? They underlined a considerable difference between free and paid so that 20 bucks would seem nothing compared to what you can access. It is a brilliant idea, which is why they hit 1.9 million users.

The list can go on, and you can look for other examples to help you out. Just make sure that your subscription box business idea and plan is your own and do not copy others. You can get inspired, but you should never make a profit from someone else’s work.

Conclusion

While getting a business off the ground may appear challenging, which I do not deny that it is, you can take advantage of today’s methods and launch your idea as fast and as easy as possible. You can use Cratejoy or Subbly because they are both eligible and satisfy your needs as an entrepreneur. You can make your launch in no time, and as long as what you offer makes people happy, your success is guaranteed. Good luck!

 

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