Andy Papier is one of the 3 co-founders of GrandBox – the original subscription box for seniors and grandparents. It connects 1000s of families across the USA, and each box is filled with gifts, treats AND customised content – photos and letters. They’re currently in their 5th year, and have doubled the subscription base EVERY YEAR.
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About the business
- eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
- Subscription business
- Launched in March 2014
- Based in the US, and selling in the USA
- On Cratejoy
GrandBox’s Origin Story
In March of 2013, Andy and his friend decided they wanted to start a subscription box business in addition to working their day jobs. They thought this would be a great way for people to connect with their grandparents or any other older relatives in the face of their busy lifestyles. They started off by doing market research and visiting various pubs to get people’s opinions on the product idea. With analyzing market research, figuring numbers, and deciding what to put in the boxes each month, it took them about a year to launch.
Listen to learn how this eCommerce business came to be.
What’s in the Box?
GrandBox is subscription-based, so the contents change every month. The typical basics included, however, are along the lines of a soap or hand cream, chapstick, a tasty treat, and a calendar or activity book. They’ve sent out a memory book in the past, allowing the recipient to document their past with stories and pictures. Andrew and his team try to avoid sending knick-knacks that will end up as unwanted clutter; instead, they hand-pick premium and consumable gifts that they believe will be worth the investment of the subscription. Their box stands out from most because it allows for extra personalization – the inclusion of up to five photos and a personalized note.
Personalization: A Logistical Nightmare
Though personalization wasn’t too crazy of an idea when GrandBox first started out, their growth has made it quite the logistical nightmare. In fact, it has been the number one problem with the company as they have scaled. They have upgraded to professional grade photo printers and have come up with ways to automate the system in order to address this issue. Instead of individually printing out each photo and manually keeping things organized, the GrandBox team has worked out a way to automatically print photos as they come in and keep them filed with the correct orders. Though this component of the business has caused some issues and been rather time-consuming, it is what makes GrandBox stand out from the rest, which is what inspired the team to find a way around those issues.
GrandBox has managed to keep operations very limited, operating primarily through the three co-founders, Andrew, Joe, and Allison. Joe and Allison focus on the operational side of things, such as printing photos, ordering materials, putting the boxes together, and shipping the products. Andrew does PR and marketing for the company during his weekend evenings. They outsource a social media manager and have 4-5 people come in to help with packaging during shipment days. The subscription model allows the team to only worry about shipping once per month for 3-4 days.
Listen to learn about the efficiency benefits of operating under a subscription model.
Doubling Their Orders Annually
Andrew and his team have found their success by planning ahead and testing to see what works before throwing a bunch of money at it. They didn’t have a lot to invest into the business initially, so they made a little go a long way, and it really paid off. The GrandBox team has also made a point to spread out their requests for product reviews and find legitimate people with active followings to promote for them. Instead of promoting through Facebook and simply spreading awareness of the product’s existence, GrandBox wants their customers to have the quality assurance that influencer marketing brings to the table.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- A podcast instead – Subscription School
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Running contents to collect emails
You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…
Tool Top Tip
- Picreel shoots offers at customers who are about to leave the site in order to increase conversions
Growth Top Tip
- Don’t spend so much money on ads. Get as big of a PR list as you can and work that list. Just reach out to people to get articles or blurbs talking about your product.