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My wife and I own a coffee roasting company and we would like to up our coffee sales game by promoting a subscription program, whereby our customers would sign up to receive coffee from us on a monthly or even bi-weekly basis. Does anyone on here have experience, or know someone who has experience setting up something like this?

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I don't have experience with subscription programs, but I have looked at such programs. I think the following points should be addressed:

  • Freshness. This is a major selling point. If your deliveries are roasted over a month ago (or even less if you're doing (bi-)weekly deliveries), you lose a lot of the appeal. Why would customers bind themselves to your program if they can get as fresh to-order?

  • Reliability. Especially when you're doing more frequent deliveries (biweekly or even weekly) customers will rely on your delivery. That is, if I expect a delivery on Saturday, I won't stock other fresh coffee for the days after. So if your delivery runs late, I might run out (which is exactly what your subscription program should prevent).

  • Price. It has to be reasonably good value. In particular, you don't want to spend too much on shipping, as that means customers aren't getting good value for money. Obviously, as volumes per shipment get bigger this becomes less of an issue and as your programs serves a lot of customers you might get a better deal with the delivery companies.

  • Type of delivery. What I mean here is that the delivery should take little effort on the customer-end. For example, when I order beans they'll be delivered by someone ringing the door bell (because it's a big box), when I'm not home, they'll deliver to the neighbours or take it back. When you're sending small packages, make sure you customers don't need to be home, make sure it fits in / through the mailbox. That way, it will be there when they get home.

  • Payment. You probably want to offer a range of options. Some customers prefer to have a recurring payment that doesn't require them to authorise it for individual deliveries. Others like to pay per delivery or use pre-paid. Depending on payment options available in your country, you can offer a range of options.

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