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Strategic Marketing Assignment: Business Planning ForSubscription Box In UK


Task: Strategic Marketing AssignmentBrief:



Individually, you will come up with an idea for a start-up business based on a subscription box, to be developed for the UK market.

According to Royal Mail’s recent UK Subscription Box Market report, the UK subscription box market is set to be worth £1.8 billion by 2025. The forecast comes as the subscription box market has seen its value more than double in size since Royal Mail’s last report on the industry, as its popularity soared during the Covid-19 pandemic amid a more general acceleration in online retail growth . And despite lockdown restrictions ending across much of the UK, new research from Barclaycard Payments has revealed that the nation’s demand for subscriptions has continued to grow, reaching a value of £395 million – up 23 per cent in the past year .

This is a good domain to apply your knowledge of strategic marketing, as subscription boxes tend to target very specific, niche groups, and a subscription box could be made for just about any target market. It also allows you to work on something that is relevant to your interests/hobbies. If you are not sure what a subscription box is, these links do a good job of explaining them. These are also good resources in general, as they not only tell you what they are, but also how much they typically cost, etc.

You will come up with your own subscription box. You will NOT do this assignment on an existing one. If you are struggling to come up with one, start with what your hobbies and interests are, and how a subscription box could be made around that. You can also do an internet search to help generate ideas. Keep in mind that yours will need to be UNIQUE and, if possible, NOVEL. If there are other subscription box services in the same/similar product category as yours, that is fine, but you’ll need to talk about that in your assignment (e.g., how yours will be unique, positioned differently, targeting a slightly different market, etc).

Just about anything can be a subscription box, so long as it lends itself well to shipping (a “construction materials” subscription box might be a bit pricey to ship). All the ones that I know of are for profit, but maybe you can have an idea for one that is sustainable as a non-profit?

This assignment brief presents below all the questions that you need to consider in an academically referenced document.

Questions to address:

1. MARKET - What is the name of your subscription box and what market is it in (e.g., makeup/beauty)? Describe where the market was at the end of 2020, general trends, but also foray into consumer behaviour, competition and macro-environmental context.

2. SEGMENTATION - Broadly, who is your target market? How could you then further segment that market into smaller segments? Remember, there are lots of different ways to segment the market (e.g., demographics, psychographics, needs/reasons why people buy). Explain how different segments are potentially viable markets to target (e.g., would people be inclined to buy a subscription box? Do they have the disposable income? Are they a large enough group, or are you comfortable with it being a very small niche group? Have they been left without products/services that satisfy their needs? Are there recent trends that make them a desirable group to pursue? etc.)

3. TARGETING - Describe who is your recommended target market more specifically. Be as specific as possible. Are you targeting multiple segments within your broad target market? If so, that needs to be reflected here when you talk about things like how the product will be promoted, if you are going to have different kinds of boxes/different “tiers” with different items and/or different price points. Attach 5 pictures that really capture who your target market is (you can do a google image search). What search terms did you use to find these pictures?

4. POSITIONING - How will you position your subscription box? Are there other subscription boxes that are like this one (e.g., that are in the same category or target the same/similar consumers)? Please name the three (3) most relevant subscription boxes that are closest to your own (if yours is unique then these 3 may not be that relevant, but nevertheless find 3 that are most like yours and most relevant to your target market). How is yours different from these other offerings (e.g., how is your positioning different from competitors, are you fighting for the exact same customers)? Remember that you might not only be competing with subscription boxes that are literally in the same category as you, but also those that are substitutable or similarly appealing to your target market.

5. PRODUCT STRATEGY - What specific products might this subscription box carry (types of products, specific brands, etc., be as specific as possible)? Why did you make these choices (again, keep in mind your target market)? Does your choice in target market and category lend itself well to being able to create varied, interesting boxes long term? The more you can list the better, especially if it lends itself well to a lot of variety. Please also illustrate how your subscription box will look and how it will be branded. You don’t need to be an artist! Just suggest an idea of what you have in mind in terms of logo, aesthetics, etc. and a reason for that choice (i.e., why it fits your target market and positioning).

6. PRICING STRATEGY - What price will your monthly subscription box be (or prices, if you have different tiers)? Offer an estimate of the shipping costs and an explanation for those costs. Justify the overall price in relation to your target market, potential competitors, etc.

7. COMMUNICATION STRATEGY - How will you promote your subscription box? Where will you promote it given your target market? What online communities, live events, etc., would you specifically target for promotion? What role will word of mouth play? Will you encourage “unboxings” on social media e.g., Youtube ? What influencers would you want to get in contact with to help spread the word? Etc.

8. PLANNING THE FUTURE - What is your plan if different competitors enter the same or similar category and target the same/or similar customers as your subscription box? Do you expect that a market for your subscription box will endure? Is it tied to a specific trend or fad that is likely to decrease in popularity?


The purpose of this study prepared within this strategic marketing assignment is to analyse a "strategic marketing plan" for a start-up business that wants to develop their business in the UK market with the idea of a "subscription box". The start-up businesses are always trying to do something innovative, so that the "subscription box" is a very new and innovative idea. The chosen market is the beauty or makeup market of the UK which is quite developed, and in this market, a start-up business is going to be established their business through a "subscription box", which includes beauty or makeup products. Focusing on this idea, this whole assignment is going to be conducted where all types of strategies will be discussed to make the analysis more relevant and appropriate.

According to the author Gonzalez (2021), the “subscription boxes” are used to deliver products to the customers, and it is a method of "product distribution" and a "marketing strategy". The subscription-related e-commerce businesses focus on the subscription boxes; in short, it is known as “subcom" that follows with a "subscription business model". A business targets its customers and understands their specific interests and needs (Morris, 2022). The start-up business has come up with the idea of a "subscription box" for promoting their business in the UK market. The name of the "subscription box" is "The Old Wine", and these boxes are filled with beauty and makeup products as the target market is the beauty and market of the UK. From research, it has been found that the consumers of the UK spent £1.4 billion by purchasing subscription boxes in 2020 and 88 million boxes delivered to the customers in the UK ( 2022). Due to COVID-19, consumers cannot purchase products in-store, so they search and purchase products online and grooming and self-care increased the demand for “subscription boxes”. Based on the changing customer behaviour, the beauty and makeup market focuses on these boxes, giving strong competition to other companies in the UK market. However, the "macro-environmental factors" of the UK market have an impact on this idea. For example, the company Liberty offered a "redeemable fee" monthly basis where the subscribers only need to pay £20 per month, and in return, they will get four boxes completely free (The industry. fashion. 2022). This helps them fulfil the customers' social requirements, and they can maintain their social status, among others.

A new start-up business will be established in the UK beauty and makeup market with the idea of "subscription boxes" and reach their customers as much as possible. The target market is UK makeup and beauty products, and to understand the segment of the UK market, different ways can be followed (Camilleri, 2018). The major four types of the market segment are going to be identified here and evaluated in the context of the UK market.

Demographic: This segment is based on the age, gender, location, income, and education of the customers. From the report, it has been found that 23% of people are 18 to 34 years old, 13% of people are 35 to 54 years old, and 3% of people are above 55 years old ( 2022). This report also shows that 24.3% of women signed up for subscription boxes, whereas 30.6% of men signed up for the boxes ( 2022).


Figure 1: Subscription services based on age
(Source: 2022)

Geographic: This segment is based on the consumers' country, climate, and rural and urban area. As the target market is the UK, all the customers are from the UK. According to the report of “Royal Mail”, 45% of subscribers of “subscription boxes” are from London, 36% from Northern Ireland and 37% are from West Midlands (Briggs, 2022). However, the UK consumers slowly depend on the subscription boxes because of COVID-19, and it is also considered an experiment and surprise for the consumers to try something different and save their shopping.

Behavioural: This segment focuses on the behaviour of the consumers, which includes purchasing habits, brand interaction, and the status of the user. There are different types of consumers available in the market, and their reason for choosing the subscription box is different. The report of “Royal Mail” portrays that 24.3% of people said that they subscribe to boxes because they “like subscription model”(Figure 2), and 54.6% of people said they signed up for the boxes “as a treat” to themselves (Figure 3).


Figure 2: Reasons for choosing subscription boxes
(Source: 2022)


Figure 3:Reasons for choosing subscription boxes
(Source: 2022)

Psychographic: The “psychographic segment” is based on the attitude, interests, attitudes, and lifestyles of the consumers. Pandemic forced people to purchase products online, and the companies tried to provide products to the doorstep of the consumers. However, people become more conscious about their health and their beauty so that they are signed up for those products more. The above figure represents the purpose of the consumers to buy subscription boxes; many people brought it for themselves, as they brought it as a gift for someone and someone gift them the boxes ( 2022).


Figure 4: Type of subscription boxes
(Source: 2022)

The chosen or selected target market is UK “beauty and makeup” market which is quite developed in the UK, most probably after COVID-19. The segment approach has been identified that a business targeted its customers based on four types of segments. All the customers should be from the UK market and, more specifically, those who used "beauty and makeup products". The subscription box "The Old Wine" includes different types of beauty products that women and men can use, and the "start-up business" uses wine in their products because wine is good for the skin. To keep this in mind, the new business targeted the UK market and focused on some categories of products based on the psychographic segment (Siozios and Siskos, 2019). The “psychographics segment" refers to the interest and attitude of the consumers and different customers looking for different types of beauty products so that the business focuses on the category of beauty products for the target market. The major category of beauty products is – "haircare products", "skincare products", "face care products", "personal care products", and "cosmetic products". It will help the business to promote every product to their target customers. They can also create different boxes for each category so that the customers can easily acquire the product that they want ( 2022).

Each of the categories of products belongs to beauty and makes products, and the new business uses separate boxes for each of the categories and each to the customers as much as possible. For the “haircare products," the target market should focus on customers suffering from hair fall and dandruff-related issues. For these customers, they should prepare a box with all the products that help them in hair treatment (Shi et al. 2020). The “skincare products” box will be for those "target market customers" who suffer from skincare issues. The "face care products" will include in a "subscription box", which will be for the customer's different facial issues and the products include serums, oil, toner, face wash, face get, and so on. The “personal care products” are for the consumers who neglect their personal care and the products include mouthwash, toothpaste, cleansers, rubbing oil. The "cosmetic products" include foundation, lipsticks, nail paint, and these products are for customers who like to maintain themselves (Kalam, 2020). Based on these product categories, the target market and the customers specify, and they are from the UK market, and the new business will provide the products to the market through subscription boxes. Below some pictures of different category of products are provided and to search these pictures key terms of the category (for example, “subscription box of Self-care products”) used and search on Google.


Figure 5: Target market of haircare product
(Source: 2022)


Figure 6: Target market of skincare product
(Source: 2022)


Figure 7: Target market of facecare product
(Source: 2022)


Figure 8: Target market of cosmetic product
(Source: Nast, 2022)


Figure 9: Target market of personal care product
(Source: 2022)

Positioning the subscription box in the target market is a very difficult task because, in the market, different types of other companies also offer subscription boxes to consumers. The "subscription box" of the new business looks like mailer boxes with wine colour, and it is a unique feature from the competitors. However, there are no such boxes available alike, but the target customers are those who are conscious about their makeup and beauty (Rodríguez-Díaz et al. 2018). These customers are both men and women, and there is no restriction on age group. There are different companies available in the UK market that uses the same boxes, and those companies are “Look Incredible”, “Lovelula”, and “Reposed”(North and London, 2020). These companies are the most famous companies in the UK that offer subscription boxes to their customers as much as possible. The boxes that these companies used are quite similar to the "The Old Wine" box because there also follow the "mailer box" design" for their products. The "Old Wine" subscription box is different from these three competitors because they use wine colour and wine print on their boxes, and these competitors do not have it in their boxes. Thus, it makes them able to fight in the business market of the UK for the same customers.


Figure 10: Subscription of Reposed
(Source: North and London, 2020)


Figure 11: Subscription of Look incredible
(Source: North and London, 2020)


Figure 12: Subscription of Lovelula
(Source: North and London, 2020)

The customers of the "Old Wine" are those who are involved in beauty and makeup things, and the three competitors mentioned here also belong to the same category so that their customers are the same. Thus, for this reason, they focus on wine as a special ingredient of their product and make the wine colour the theme colour of their subscription box. These boxes belong to the same category of the competitors, but the business should also care about the products that are similarly appealing in their target market (Floricic, 2020). Thus, the company has to ensure that the products that they are offering to their customers are not the same as their competitors. Their products are substitutable, so that the business has to be careful about the fact that the competitors cannot use their products or strategy in their business. For this reason, the new business should strengthen their market position at the beginning so that they can deal with the competitors easily. They also need to target their customers specifically, use a competitive strategy for the competitors, and use some more specific things in their subscription box.

Product strategy
For this “subscription box” of “The Old Wine”, the start-up business needs a product strategy through which they can specify their products. As the target market is the UK market and its "beauty and makeup industry", so that the products should be specified because there are a lot of competitors available in the market. However, the business focuses on the category of beauty products are "skincare products", "personal care products", "hair products", baby products", and makeup products. All these products are for men and women and also have products for the aged people (Tzuo and Weisert, 2018). They create different boxes for each of the product categories, and sometimes they can create one big box which will include all categories of products. It will also include baby products, but here is a difference. For the baby products, they do not use wine or any alcohol. Besides this, they also have decided to include herbal products as complimentary. This is a very interesting and attractive strategy because if the customers can get herbal products with their own products, then they might catch more attention from their customers. Thus, this creates variation in the target market because wine is the special element of their beauty products because wine makes skin glow, and it will definitely attract their attention ( 2022).
Besides the products, the subscription box should also be different from others. Thus, they should make it in a more effective way so that the customers can reuse the box. They have decided to use wine colour for their box with 3D printing of the wine bottle and use the beauty logo. This will portray that the business focuses on the wine products that will help the customers glow their skins. They can different types of boxes, small-medium and large, and place three different price rates (Postacchini and Ludeno, 2019). In the small boxes, they should include three products; the medium size box should include five to six products, and the large box includes ten products but small in quantity and size. Based on the product size, they should also include combs and different small gifts. It will help them to catch the attention of their customers as much as possible and make their "subscription boxes" attractive to the customers. These are the major factors that will help the "start-up business" differentiate their product from their competitors and give them the opportunity for competitive advantages.


Figure 13: Logo of Subscription box
(Source: Self-Created)

Pricing strategy
Price strategy is one of the most important strategies of a new business idea; it becomes more critical when it is for a “start-up business”. As the new “start-up business” comes up with the idea of a “subscription box” in their target market of the UK so that they have to focus on the pricing strategy (Liu et al. 2019). From the “product strategy,” it has been found that the business has decided to offer three types of boxes, small, medium, and large, and for those boxes, they have to set a monthly price. With the monthly process, the business also can include some other products as complementary products. It will help them to attract their customer’s attention as much as possible and fulfil their requirements by understanding their interests.

Box size

Quantity of products



Small boxes

3 products


Per month

Medium boxes

5-6 products


Per month

Large boxes

10 products


Per month


Table 1: Details of subscription boxes
(Source: Self-Created)

The “new start-up business” also needs to be aware of other expenses, which include the estimated shipping cost. The shipping cost in the UK is £2.95 for orders over £50 through “Royal Mail” ( 2022). The international shipping cost is based on the weight of the order. For example, the "Standard and tracked and signed" order weight is 1750grams, and the "express & heavy" order weight is 4500 grams. The shipping is in Europe, then the standard order cost £4.95, the "tracked & signed" order cost £14.95, and the "express & heavy" order cost £24.95 ( 2022). Other costs include Software costs, including different types of software used for the “subscription boxes”, the office expenses, which include rent and internet and office space cost, inventory expenses, marketing costs, and website cost.

Software cost


Office expenses


Inventory expenses


Marketing cost


Website cost


Total cost



Table 2: Estimate cost of subscription boxes
(Source: Self-Created)

Communication strategy
Promotion is one of the major concerning areas of a new "start-up business" because they can reach their customers as much as possible through a promotion. Unique marketing ideas of "subscription box" are difficult to find out; for this reason, the business should focus on some important strategies (Bayazovna, 2020). They can use bloggers for the promotion of the “subscription box”. Different social media influencers available on YouTube and Instagram can help to make blogs with the boxes, and the business can promote it on their website and social media channels to reach the customers. As a “social media influencer” the business can approach celebrities, artists, and so on. The business can develop a "local community" in their workplace where everyone can share their inspirations and ideas and come up with new and innovative ideas. On the other hand, they can ask their customers for “user-generated content” and use it in their boxes ( 2022).

For promoting the target market, they can use advertisement through television and online platforms and reach their target customer and worldwide customers as well. They can also arrange live events with their boxes, and in the live event, they will open their boxes and give detail to the customers. Through "word of mouth", they share information about their boxes to their customers in the process of oral communication. In this prospect, they can do campaigns and charity events. Social media platforms are considered as the major areas where they can easily reach their customers (Renfro et al., 2018). The social media platforms are – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. However, they need the motivation to contact people and to spread their word. For motivation, they should research their competitors, and the needs of the customers and the response and feedback of the customers motivate them to do something new. By communicating with the customers through website chatting and through face-to-face chatting, they can understand their requirements. Planning the future After analysing each of the strategies and practices of the "start-up business" and their idea of "subscription box", it identifies that they need a future plan to deal with their future challenges. The future plan is to analyse or understand how the business can deal with any competitor who comes up with a similar category of product. Thus, the business should make a plan for this purpose so that they can hold their own essence. They always have to come up with a new strategy that makes them different from others and also helps them to hold the same customers. The “start-up business” can follow a partnership strategy where they can merge with another company and increase their revenue. The UK market of “subscription box” will endure in the future because the market has targeted to increase worth £1.8 billion within 2025 ( 2022). This gives assurance to the business to explore their business and gain profit and increase their revenue. Thus, the "subscription box" increases the popularity of online shopping, and most of the customers depend on it after COVID-19. This is very popular these days, but this popularity can decrease because of some specific trends: "poor quality of the products", unseen value and surpassing the expectations of the customers and personalisation of the products. These are the major trends that may affect the growth and fame of the “subscription box” market in the UK. Thus, the business should be aware of the opportunities along with the challenges that may threaten this trend of business. The business should identify them and find out the solutions through which they can overcome those challenges ( 2022).

From the above analysis, it can be concluded that this whole assignment is based on the knowledge of "strategic marketing" for the "subscription box", which is the idea of a "new start-up business". To focus on this concept, this entire study was conducted where a complete description of the chosen market was evaluated by describing each and every required aspect. Segmentation, targeting, positing helped to understand the market in detail in the context of the “subscription box”. Besides this, product strategy, price strategy, and communication strategy are mentioned for promoting the box. The future planning of the business is also discussed here, with the future target of the UK.

Reference list (Academic)
Bayazovna, G.N., 2020. Marketing communication strategy and its essence. ??????? ????? ? ???????????, (1 (85)). Camilleri, MA, 2018. Market segmentation, targeting and positioning.In Travel marketing, tourism economics and the airline product (pp. 69-83).Springer, Cham.

Floricic, T., 2020. ART INSPIRED HOTELS-COMPETITIVENESS CONTEXT AND MARKET POSITIONING. Economic and Social Development: Book of Proceedings, pp.10-25.
Gonzalez, D., 2021. The Preference and Willingness to Pay for Clothing Subscription Boxes. Kalam, K.K., 2020. Market Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning Strategy Adaptation for the Global Business of Vodafone Telecommunication Company. International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS), 4. Liu, J., Zhai, X. and Chen, L., 2019.Optimal pricing strategy under trade-in program in the presence of strategic consumers. Omega, 84, pp.1-17.
Postacchini, M. and Ludeno, G., 2019. Combining numerical simulations and normalised scalar product strategy: A new tool for predicting beach inundation. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 7(9), p.325.
Renfro, C.P., Ferreri, S., Barber, TG and Foley, S., 2018. Development of a communication strategy to increase interprofessional collaboration in the outpatient setting. Pharmacy, 6(1), p.4.
Rodríguez-Díaz, M., Rodríguez-Díaz, R., Rodríguez-Voltes, A.C. and Rodríguez-Voltes, C.I., 2018. A model of market positioning of destinations based on online customer reviews of lodgings. Sustainability, 10(1), p.78. Shi, B., Yang, J., Guo, F. and He, Q., 2020, August.Salience and market-aware skill extraction for job targeting.Strategic marketing assignment In Proceedings of the 26th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining (pp. 2871-2879). Siozios, K. and Siskos, S., 2019, March.A low-complexity framework for distributed energy market targeting smart-grid. In 2019 Design, Automation & Test in Europe Conference & Exhibition (DATE) (pp. 878-883). IEEE. Tzuo, T. and Weisert, G., 2018. Subscribed: Why the subscription model will be your company's future-and what to do about it. Penguin.

Reference list (Professional)
Briggs, F., 2022. Royal Mail subscription box report launch: consumers in London, West Mids and Northern Ireland drive growth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Product categories in the cosmetic industry - Chemists Corner. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Product categories in the cosmetic industry - Chemists Corner. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Emenac Packaging UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. UK subscription service statistics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. International Shipping | Vegan Shop | Vegan Beauty & Snacks. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Shipping & Delivery | UK, USA, EUROPE, Worldwide Shipping. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. These Are the Best Skincare Products and Brands, Tested by Beauty Pros. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Korean Beauty Box in the UK | KOJA Beauty. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Challenges Limiting Subscription Box Companies (and How the Right Partner Can Help). [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Royal Mail: we are perfectly placed to support subscription box businesses and their future growth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022].

Morris, J., 2022. What is a Subscription Box? Defining the Industry | Jameson Morris. [online] Jameson Morris. Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. Nast, C., 2022. GLAMOUR’s Wellness Edit Beauty Box has landed, packed with £180 worth of products to spark some serious self-care joy – at just £29.99!. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022].

North, B. and London, L., 2022. The best beauty subscription boxes in the UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. 27 of the Hottest Hair Products Launching in 2020. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. The rise and rise of subscription boxes in UK retail - Retail Gazette. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Boom boxes: UK subscription box market to be worth £1 billion by 2022. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Consumers drive growth in UK subscription box market as popularity soars. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Subscription box marketing: 8 ways to market your box | Strike Social. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022]. 2022. Is Liberty revolutionising the beauty subscription box market?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 January 2022].


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