Subscription services are one of the fastest-growing industries in the UK. According to the Royal Mail Subscription Box Boom report, the UK retail subscription industry will reach an impressive £1.3 billion in 2022. To add further gravitas to that already staggering figure, it is predicted to reach £1.8 billion by 2025. That’s a staggering number of boxes going to every corner of the UK on a repeat delivery basis. Clearly, this growing industry will need support in the form of expert subscription fulfilment. However, there is more to all this than just shipping
Rapid Growth Needs Flexible And Scalable subscription Fulfilment
When a market grows in the way subscription services is, the logistics must not only be able to keep up, but they must also be able to adapt to changing circumstances. Between 2017 and 2020, there was a 137% growth in the retail subscription space. That increase can put considerable pressure on the 3PL partner of a retailer unless they can scale to compensate. Unfortunately, one of the common issues we hear from prospective new clients is that their current 3PL provider cannot match their developing needs.
That demand factor can go both ways, of course. Undoubtedly one of the elements that has contributed to the growth in this sector was the pandemic. While it is not expected to be a dramatic U-turn, the end of the covid restriction could result in a slowing down of this growth or perhaps even a reduction of the overall need for some retailers for a short period. Your 3PL company should be flexible enough to accommodate the changing needs that come with subscription fulfilment, whatever they are.
Delivery isn’t the only story – Co-Packaging is vital for subscription fulfilment
Subscription fulfilment is not just about consistency. You would, of course, expect your shipments to go on time, every time. But a good 3PL partner should be able to offer more. Most subscription offers are customisable or have variable content such as:
- Samples and additional materials
- Seasonal items
- Holiday special offers and additional shipments
- Customisable and non-customisable contents in the same box
We have specially trained subscription fullfilment teams to ensure these varying requirements happen without adversely affecting the accurate shipping schedules that are important to a subscription retailer. Within the competitive market, such as subscription services, having a 3PL partner who can adapt quickly to changing needs can mean the difference between keeping a customer and losing them to a competitor brand.
Quality Issues, Returns And Repricing Problems Happen Sometimes
The potential for disruptions to supply and pricing issues is right at the top of the list of concerns for many subscription model retailers. It has never been more critical to have a subscription fulfilment partner who can react to sudden changes and adapt to the co-pack process.
When you look at them, subscription deliveries are staggering; for example, almost half of Londoners are signed up to at least one subscription box.
Problems with delivery, product issues, and delays are all potentially expensive logistics problems.
You need to ensure that your 3PL provider is keeping track and responding as needed. With real-time technology in place, we can track stock and shipments, whether in or outbound and give you a clear view of your logistics at all times.
Realistically though, returns will always be a fact of life in the retail subscription space. Our quality control teams are fast, accurate, processing resources, help reduce the occurrence and cost, and reverse logistics.
With dedicated team members specifically trained to spot and respond to issues, and an array of tracking and monitoring options, we can alert you to issues such as potential batch problems quickly. That can literally save thousands from your wastage costs.
The retail subscription marketplace is vast and still growing, and it is also subject to potential customer churn levels unseen in other areas. No matter how much you concentrate on your interaction, offers, and other marketing operations, your 3PL partner must be able to maintain your service.
The two core customer requirements from a subscription service are convenience and regular, timely delivery of the right products. The only way to combat customer churn in such a volatile industry is to have a 3PL service partner that cares as much as you do about the reliability of your logistics and the quality control that keeps your customer base subscribed.
We are always happy to talk about your needs, so if your current 3PL partner is not meeting your’s or your customers’ expectations, why not call us and see how we can help?