In 2013 and 2014, we have seen the rise of subscription boxes in Singapore. The premise is attractive – you pay a monthly fee to these subscription boxes and every month you receive a box of items from multiple brands for you to try out.
While some companies manage to ride the wave and make the model work, most of these subscription box companies went belly up or were forced to change their customer offerings. Those that couldn’t, went out of business.
Despite the market saying that subscription boxes might not be the best business model, that did not stop Walter and his team from starting BoxGreen over a year ago. We’ve featured them last January, and in case you are unfamiliar with it, BoxGreen is a monthly subscription box service for healthy snacks. At S$19.90, BoxGreen delivers a box of healthy snacks to your doorstep.
When we spoke to Walter, they were only 5 months into their business and they had just completed their 1000th boxes then. Not bad for a 5 month old startup.
With 1000 boxes delivered in 5 months, we asked if Walter thought the monthly box subscription business is a viable one in Singapore back then. While there are unsuccessful companies in this space, Walter is quick to point out that there are also successful ones, citing BellaBox and The French Cellar as examples that cater to niche markets.
The BoxGreen team were working hard to make sure that the model works, and that they do not follow the fate of some of the failed companies in the past.
“Getting to 1,000 boxes is not the biggest challenge, scaling from 1,000-10,000 is!”
Fast forward to one year later today, the BoxGreen team shared that they have delivered a total of 74,854 boxes in 2015.
“Our revenue also grew by 10x as compared to a year ago. We have over 30 snack items now, hopefully to 50 by 2016. Technology has helped greatly in scaling and inventory management while data allows us to find out more about snacks preferences. Singaporean snackers, for example, like savoury snacks over sweet ones,” Walter shared with Vulcan Post.
On top of just delivering monthly boxes of snacks to its hungry customers, BoxGreen is also working closely with nutritionists from Ayam Brand to develop snack labels that are easy to understand.
So who exactly make up the bulk of the customers who ordered from BoxGreen? According to Walter, most of these people are health conscious individuals, especially females or mums looking for healthier snack alternatives for their kids.
“If kids are already eating snacks, instead of the common unhealthy ones that you get, I’d rather have them eating healthy snacks.”
For BoxGreen, the team seems to have discovered a vertical (healthy snacks) that fits the subscription model. But it wasn’t without hard work that the team managed to scale up its revenue stream and brand awareness. Other than being present in Singapore, BoxGreen will also be available in Malaysia.