One of the most desirable things in business new or old is recurring income. It would be great to have customers patronising your business repeatedly on schedule like clockwork. It would not only be great from a revenue standpoint but also from a planning and resource allocation standpoint. There’s an answer to this and that is the subscription box. We will get into what the box is a little later. We’re going to take a look at business ideas that utilise the subscription box concept that you can start in Zimbabwe. These can be included as add ons to existing businesses or started as standalone businesses. So let’s understand how subscription boxes work.
The first thing I should point out is that subscription boxes are not always boxes. That part of the name comes from the items in the package being set. The subscription part speaks for itself, customers make regular payments though there are possibilities for variations for example where customers pay every month and receive Christmas hampers or pay once a month but receive deliveries weekly. So the idea is to provide a set or seasonal package of items that the customer pays for regularly. The business ideas are not limited to physical goods as you will see later. They do work best with items that have repetitive and predictable consumption patterns.
Where there is low hanging fruit, let it be plucked. Cosmetics and related items are one area where subscription boxes can apply as a solid business idea. While the idea probably has many thinking about women’s cosmetic needs it can just as easily be applied to men’s cosmetic needs too. Also, consider that men are less into the shopping experience than women when it comes to cosmetics and it makes them a great target. A box that contains soap, shower gel, roll-on, hair remover and a deodorant sold at a reasonable price. Dollar shave club made a name for themself selling shaving kits to men on the subscription box concept. Also, consider a feminine hygiene subscription box.
Zimbabweans love their meat and you can get in on the action as a meat box supplier. This is somewhat of an underserved market even though we have businesses operating in the area. It can work very well given that consumption patterns for things such as meat do not vary greatly. So could supply a box that contains beef, chicken, fish, mince and sausage set at a reasonable price. I love pork too but not everybody does. The implementations of that idea I have seen always seem to be more expensive than buying the meat items separately which is not the idea.
Hear me out, alcohol is one of those things that have those repetitive and predictable consumption patterns. Alcohol also has the advantage of having motivated patrons, meaning gin lovers love gin as whisky lovers love whisky. That’s good for you because you can cater to the needs of these motivated customers very well. Take the example of gin lovers, they like to make cocktails with it. So imagine a subscription box that along with their preferred gin also includes mixers and garnishes for cocktails. Brilliant. There are many ways you can look at this and this might actually work better as a weekly rather than monthly subscription.
This is just about limitless in potential because the world of hobbies is so wide. Gardening is a popular hobby that could do with a subscription. Imagine a box that contains seedlings of fast-growing home consumption crops like lettuce, rape, butternut and the like. There are also people caring for household plants who would appreciate a pack that contains say fertiliser, compost and perhaps pesticide that comes regularly. Painting is a popular hobby that could benefit from a subscription box as are crosswords and sudoku puzzles. There are so many hobbies that could be improved by a subscription box offer. Find one and plug yourself.
This is the perfect subscription box idea for bibliophiles out there and there are a lot of them. Somebody drops off four (or more) books a month that have been selected according to your reading preference and you pay a flat fee. This is the same principle audio and ebook services like Audible are based on. One simple fee and you get a book a month. So perhaps a subscription box of books from Africa, or fiction books, business books or whatever else is popular out there can do very well. It can work with print books, ebooks and even audiobooks.
Subscription boxes are not a new way of business at all. Newspaper and magazine companies used these models before the internet was even a word. Success can be achieved by simply applying old ideas to other things that you have not seen them applied to yet. This list could’ve been much longer and expect a follow-up list with more ideas to come soon.