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All You Need to Know about Starting an eCommerce Subscription Business with Jessica Principe

Do you want to launch your own eCommerce subscription business, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re running it already, but you need some tips to keep it growing? Read on to find out how to turn your online store into a 6-figure business with Jessica Principe, the Founder of All Girl Shave Club.


All Girl Shave Club started in 2016 as a side hustle of a busy mom of two boys who was working a full-time job. In less than a year, Jessica turned it into a well-prospering online business. Four years later, it has served thousands of women across the USA and throughout Canada.


Jessica started her online store with no prior experience or specialized knowledge. Yet, she managed to create a 6-figure business within a year. How did she do that? We invited her for an interview to find out how she became a successful entrepreneur.



Getting a subscription eCommerce idea


Everything started in the shower. Jessica was getting ready to shave and thought to herself:

“How can I make it better in my life? I can’t be the only woman who feels this way about shaving. Maybe this is something I can build a business around.”


Jessica started her research on the eCommerce models and worked on her own eCommerce subscription business right away.


Then the first obstacle occurred:

As Jessica says, back then there weren’t as many resources as there are now. All she knew was that she wanted to start her own business.


Jessica never sold anything online before. She had no experience and no specialized knowledge in the field of eCommerce.


And here she is now: a successful entrepreneur running a flourishing online business. She didn’t give up. She kept on learning through the trial and error method. All her experiences became the basis of her success.


Jessica had a few interesting things to say to every aspiring subscription box owner.


Let’s get into it.


Manage your margins and understand the pricing


As the All Girl Shave Club founder states, she was really underpricing herself at the beginning as she wanted to compete with “big billion-dollar players”. She learned that focusing on the price isn’t the best way to grow, especially when you’re starting out.


Jessica highlights the importance of the value you’re bringing to your customers’ lives, as it’s much more important for the development of your business than the price.


Not niching down enough


This is something that Jessica struggled with at the beginning of her journey with eCommerce. She couldn’t quite decide who she really is trying to reach or who her customers were.


What she learned with time is that knowing your customers’ demographics and their values is crucial for growing your business:


“Niche down a little bit more than you think you need to.”

Targeted Persona


You may ask: how did she find out what her targeted persona is?


Jessica asked herself the right questions about the people they want to reach: how do they reach them? How can they reach the people who want to buy a one-time product versus how they can reach those people who’re buying the subscription?


Principe gathered all the potential answers and analyzed them.


After analyzing the answers, she came up with her First Shave Kit, which was designed for young girls and is a single product without any subscription attached.



As you can see, asking the right questions allowed Jessica to come up with different personas for different products.


Customer Acquisition & Retention Are Keys In Subscription Business


It’s hard to start an eCommerce subscription business with no experience. It’s even harder to find customers that are willing to spend their money on your products. Here are some tips from Jessica on customer acquisition & customer retention:


Customer Acquisition

Jessica recalls the pre-launch she ran:

“We tested the market, validated the idea, and built a list of potential buyers before I even launched the business.”


That seems reasonable, does it?


So what did the pre-launch look like?


Principe built a single landing page on Kickofflabs - a platform that incentivized social sharing. As Jessica said, all she had to do was get her landing page in front of people who were part of her target audience.


Then it was time for marketing. Jessica marketed her page in Facebook groups: she reached out to women in her life that might be interested in her products. Later, the women she reached out to would share her business further.


That gained her “own little marketing army” composed of women who joined her right from the beginning.


Principe recalls her experience with paid ads at this stage, although as she claims it was very organic at the beginning and the development of her subscription business was a result of collaboration with people who had the audience she wanted to target.

Customer Retention

According to Jessica, in the eCommerce subscription business, customer retention is about making sure you’re reaching the customers who see the value in your box. Then, you have to focus on making sure your customers are using the products they’re receiving.


“It’s important for subscription box owners to create content specific for your subscribers that will show them how they can use the products, encourage them to use it in unique ways or to apply it in their lives in different ways.”



Working with Influencers

The Founder of All Girl Shave Club has worked with multiple influencers, but one of these collaborations brought impressive results: a single Youtube video gained them hundreds of subscribers on the day it was released.


Taking these results into account, Jessica doubled down on influencers and started to explore paid ads. Working with influencers is a big part of their marketing acquisition now.


As Jessica remarks, influencer marketing evolved since she first launched. It still has its place in All Girl Shave Club’s marketing strategy, although it’s more about brand awareness and creating content that they can later share and leverage in many ways.


The subscription box industry is about building relationships. Jessica emphasizes the power of connections & relationships, not only with influencers, but also with your customers:


“I think so much of the subscription box industry is about building relationships, not just with influencers, but with your customers and with your vendors and all of that. So really getting comfortable building those relationships is how we find the most success.”


Analyzing and tracking the ongoing processes


Tracking cancellation reasons


…early and often!

Analyze the reasons behind your customer’s decision to cancel the subscription and do what you can to mitigate those reasons before they even happen.


Analyzing the drop-off point


Think: What is the point where people start to cancel? Are there any common points?


Consider all the possible common points and proactively work on getting your customers through that renewal by, for example, offering them a special add-on, or a discount on their next box. Keep your customers excited about your products.


Tools To Run a Subscription Ecommerce


Another aspect of running an eCommerce subscription business that we asked Jessica about was the tools that are used in her work. Among the most useful tools she mentioned:

  • Shopify and Recharge for managing the backends of the subscription

  • Klaviyo as the email service provider

  • Judge.me app for customers’ reviews

  • Asana for managing multiple projects

  • Help Scout for customer support inbox

  • Social media for getting in touch with customers


In addition, in 2022 All Girl Shave Club is adding another communication channel to serve customers even better – SMS.


Learning


Jessica Principe knows the importance of continuous learning. As she recalls, one of the first things she had to learn early on was the fact that she cannot outsource everything as a brand-new business owner. She had to learn a lot, especially in the early stages of her subscription business.


As Principe declares, one of the most important things she had to learn was learning how to run her Facebook ads and learning to manage them:


“I did that through The Brilliant Business Moms podcast. She teaches a lot about Facebook ads. (...) I also love Ecommerce Badassery, I think that’s an amazing podcast with very actionable tips and strategies that you can implement right away.”


Conclusion


Starting a new eCommerce subscription business from scratch is never easy. This is why you should do your research, reach out to people, and analyze the steps of people (like our guest Jessica Principe) who have already succeeded.


If you want to grow your subscription box business like Jessica Principe did, you must be mindful of your margins, understand pricing, know and actively target your audience, track cancellation reasons, analyze the drop-off point, and keep learning.


If you follow the steps mentioned by Jessica, your eCommerce subscription business will flourish!


Check Jessica’s website for more inspiration for your eCommerce subscription box business at jessicaprincipe.com


Thank you, Jessica, for your time! It was a truly inspiring talk. We wish you continued success!


Which of these pieces of advice do you find the most important? Or maybe you have some questions about the eCommerce subscription business? Let us know in the comments!

 

This article was originally published at smartinbox.user.com

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