Black Friday University Week 9: Gift A Subscription

November 15, 2016


Less than two weeks until Black Friday! We told you the time would fly, and it sure has. Our free, weekly Black Friday webinars have gotten better and better, and we have a doozie for you for Week 9!

If you’d like to see how to run a ‘Gift a Subscription’ sale in your store,
take a look at the webinar below!


But before we go into detail, we want to remind you that if you haven't been able to prepare for Black Friday until now and you need some help, our Bold Managed Services department is ready to lend a hand.  From site analysis and diagnostic checks, to full Black Friday weekend standby services to ensure your store stays up and running when traffic peaks, check out our Black Friday Managed Services menu (scroll down to see the A La Carte offerings).  We're here to help make sure the busiest shopping weekend of the year is a positive and profitable one for you.

And with that in mind, it's time to talk about the hottest ticket item you can offer this holiday season: subscription boxes! Using our Recurring Orders app is the easiest way to jump on this trend. Not only is it an excellent, unique gift idea, it's also a fabulous way set up a consistent, reliable source of income through your store.
But Recurring Orders can do much more than just subscription boxes.  You can offer subscriptions on a mixed cart (one-time and recurring) or an entire cart, with products chosen by the customer.

And don't forget free coffee!


One of our favourite Recurring Orders customers, Death Wish Coffee, will be giving away a gift basket of their amazing coffee to one of the attendees. We'll use their store as an example in the webinar, and you might even get to hear more about how they turned their ultra caffeinated, super-strong, dark roast coffee into a multi-million dollar subscription business.

We'll touch on that more in the webinar, but first:

What the heck is a subscription box?

Glad you asked.  Subscription boxes spiked in popularity approximately five years ago, and have basically exploded over the past couple of years. A customer pays a monthly fee and receives a box full of random goods that fall into the category of the box they've chosen.


Ipsy sends makeup. BarkBox sends pet-related items like dog toys and treats. Lucky Tacklebox (a proud Bold client!) sends fishing lures. There are boxes for clothing, food, body care items, perfumes, home accessories... the list quite literally goes on and on. You'd be hard pressed to find a category of goods that doesn't have a subscription box somewhere out there.

It's not an entirely new idea, though.  You've heard of wine of the month clubs or cheese of the month clubs?  That's essentially the same thing.


Many companies that offer nothing but subscription boxes are growing rapidly; NatureBox has been growing by between 50 and 100 percent monthly since launching in 2012, and BarkBox grew from 1,500 subscribers to 55,000 subscribers in just one year.


Birchbox has used the model as a marketing tool.  Their boxes provide customers samples of personal care products, with the option to purchase a full sized version of the same thing. That strategy has been hugely successful for their business, as customers love having the chance to try a smaller version of a product before committing to spending money on the real thing.  (Birchbox has almost 400,000 monthly subscribers, which is pretty solid proof of the success of their strategy.)

Now, if you have a regular eCommerce store, going to an all-subscription model may not quite work for what you're doing.

That doesn't mean you can't still use Recurring Orders to set up a subscription service with a great benefit to your bottom line.

First off, a subscription doesn't have to be a box full of multiple items.  It can be one singular item that's sent at an interval.  Perhaps you sell uniquely scented candles, you could do a subscription box where you send a different scented candle every month to your subscribers.  It can truly be that simple.

Or maybe you sell coffee.  Pick a different roast every month to send out to subscribers who are interested in sampling different types of coffee.


Certainly, if you have the type of business that is conducive to sending a box full of different sample sized items every month, then a variety box can definitely work for you, using the same idea as Birchbox.  If they liked the sample from the box, perhaps give those subscription customers a discount when they choose to buy the full-sized version.

But there is another way to create recurring revenue that DOESN'T include a subscription "box" with surprise items each month...

You can offer your regular stock as subscription items, that customers can have automatically sent to them at a regular interval.  Their card gets charged, you fulfill the order as normal in your store.  It's super simple.


Fox example, Bold Commerce customer, BadAss Beard Care, started off selling individual units of their premium beard oils and balms.  But owner Charlie Moyer saw an opportunity; he knew men would be likely to run out of their beard products and not want to deal with the hassle of re-ordering, so he started using Recurring Orders to create a subscription model.

His customers could place their initial order and have that product automatically re-ship on a recurring basis, at whatever interval worked for them.  They'd never be without their products, and Moyer would know exactly how much revenue he could expect each month from those orders.

It's worked perfectly, with BadAss Beard Care reporting 2300 subscribers after the first year and a projected annual revenue of $430,000.   (If you're interested in learning more about BadAss Beard Care, follow the link to read their case study on our blog!)


Topics: Bold Life & PR

Kim Babij-Gesell

Written by Kim Babij-Gesell

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