The Cheapest Way to Ship Subscription Boxes

Learn how to save the most money when sending out large batches of subscription boxes
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With the boom of online shopping over the past decade, subscription boxes were once the hot topic of the shipping world. While the market may have gotten oversaturated since the first boxes debuted around 2014, the new surge in eCommerce demand has these types of packages growing popular again. When it comes to shipping out large batches of subscription boxes, saving the most money to maximize your margins is key to turning a profit. We can’t believe it took us this long, but read on for the cheapest way to ship subscription boxes!

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USPS Priority Mail Cubic is the Cheapest Service to Ship Subscription Boxes

The cheapest way to ship subscription boxes is by far USPS Priority Mail Cubic service. Priority Mail Cubic (or “Cubic,” for short) is a specially-discounted service that is perfect for sending smaller, heavier packages. Cubic is amazing because the dimensions of your box determine the cost to ship it, and not its total weight. That means that as long as your boxes are small enough, you can load them up with as much product as possible, and it won’t cost more to send it! For all of you business owners out there, here’s why that matters:

More products inside the box = Ability to charge a higher retail price = Higher profit margins

Of course, Priority Mail Cubic has certain restrictions that you must follow in order to access these specially-discounted rates. Your box cannot exceed 0.5 cubic feet in volume, and no single dimension on your box can exceed 18 inches. Lastly, the maximum allowable weight per package is 20 pounds.

You Can Only Access Cubic Rates with Free Online Shipping Software

The tricky thing about Priority Mail Cubic is that you’ll never see this service at any Post Office. You also won’t see it on the USPS website, either. In fact, most postal workers may have never even heard of it! Priority Mail Cubic is only accessible when you use shipping software to buy postage online.

If you’ve never heard of online shipping software before, then we may have just changed your life. Online shipping software is any website that allows you to buy and print shipping labels from the comfort of your own home, saving you those pesky trips to the Post Office. In addition to the convenience, most shipping software options out there also hook you up with the deepest discounts USPS offers, known as Commercial Pricing. USPS typically reserves this level of savings for huge commercial shippers sending out 50,000 or more packages per year. However, the best shipping software companies pass these savings onto you for free. To put it simply, these savings can make or break your subscription business. In fact, when you ship Priority Mail Cubic at Commercial Pricing rates, you can save up to 90% off what you’d pay to ship the same box at the Post Office!

Pro Tip: Never go to the Post Office unless you absolutely have to! With so many options out there, you should always be using shipping software to buy discounted USPS shipping labels. For some great recommendations, check out our guide Choosing the Best Shipping Software.

Keep Your Fulfillment In-House When Shipping Subscription Boxes (If Possible)

Another way to keep your costs as low as possible is to keep your fulfillment in-house for as long as you possibly can. When you’re starting a subscription business, there’s no need to partner with a fulfillment warehouse unless the fulfillment process is directly impacting your ability to grow your business. Until then, the benefits of running fulfillment yourself far outweigh the potential costs.

By keeping fulfillment in-house, you won’t just save money on what you would be paying a fulfillment center. You’ll also retain more control over your packages, gain invaluable hands-on experience with your products, and have the opportunity to hire friends and family who may be looking for employment. Talk about a win/win/win situation!

Pro Tip: If you’re using a platform like Shopify to sell your subscription products, it makes sense to automate as many things as you can, such as setting up recurring billing and payment processing. This way, you won’t have to manually create sales and charge your customers every month! Fortunately, there are a lot of apps out there to help you do just that. To read about some of the most effective ones out there, check out this article on the best Shopify subscription apps to help your subscription business run smoothly.

Invest in Custom Packaging to Create the Best Customer Experience

Now that you’ve got the shipping part down, let’s talk about appearance.

Many first-time shippers looking to cut down costs decide to take advantage of free USPS Priority Mail boxes. This way, they won’t have to pay for packaging, which directly results in a higher profit margin. While this strategy is well and good, it’s not the move if you’re trying to build a successful subscription brand (like the ones pictured in the photo above—hint, hint).

If you’re just starting out, we highly recommend that you invest in custom packaging for your business. Custom packaging doesn’t just gives your boxes the professional appearance that consumers nowadays expect. It also gives you the chance to reinforce your brand every time you ship something out, and most importantly, it creates a unique unboxing experience for your recipient. Plus, if you keep your boxes under 0.5 cubic feet, you’ll still be able to ship them via Priority Mail Cubic service!

For some great recommendations on custom packaging companies, check out our Reviews page!

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