Consumers come to the Cratejoy Marketplace from all over the world to discover new passions, hobbies, and products they love. Trust, transparency, and exceptional customer service are all key ingredients for continued engagement from these consumers, and will certainly help Merchants build a more sustainable business for the long-term. As a Cratejoy Merchant, it is important that you read and acknowledge the policies and procedures that apply to the Cratejoy Marketplace.
Provide a Great Service Experience
Trust and transparency are paramount to keep in mind as you build and strengthen your relationship with Cratejoy Customers. Prioritizing these values benefits your business with a stronger community filled with great feedback, higher conversion rates, and longer lifetime value per Customer.
One way to establish trust is through exceptional service, and we expect Merchants to honor Marketplace Customers by striving to provide great service to every Customer. Responding to your Customers in a timely manner and providing clarity to set Customer expectations are two great ways to build trust with your Customers.
Read below for guidelines in providing great customer service to Cratejoy Customers:
Provide clarity on shipping policies & details. Clearly communicating shipping timing, pricing, and the overall process is a big factor in a positive experience for the Customer (and positive reviews!). On your listing page, include information in your Product Overview to discuss when the product ships, what the Customer can expect, and any factors that might impact when the Customer will receive their items. Below are two examples of great communication about shipping on a listing page:
Your subscription box will be shipped the 1st of the month. Order by the last day of the month to be included in the next month’s shipment.
First box ships immediately within 1-3 business days of your order. Subsequent boxes ship on the 15th of the following month.
NOTE: Keep in mind that you will need to update your Product Overview information during peak shopping periods throughout the year, such as the holiday season or the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day. Customers may have different shipping needs or expectations before a peak gift-giving holiday, so it’s important to acknowledge and reflect that as needed in your shipping plans.
Ship on time, according to what you communicated to the customer. Cratejoy Merchants are expected to ship their subscription or one-time products in the timeframe the Merchant outlines on the listing. If there is an emergency situation out of your control that requires you to delay your shipping cycle, you are obligated to reach out to all affected Customers as soon as possible to clarify their expected delivery timeline. Important note: When developing your shipping cycle, please be aware that legal requirements for shipping times can vary by country.
Respond to Customer support questions in a timely, respectful manner. Merchants are expected to communicate with Marketplace Customers in a timely manner, and same-day service is encouraged. We define “prompt” within 24 hours of the Customer reaching out to you. Earlier is always better, however. Even if your response is along the lines of “Thank you for reaching out; I’ll check with our team on this and get back to you,” it’s important to let the Customer know they’ve been heard. Because writing has no verbal intonation, it’s imperative to choose your words carefully. While you might think your language comes off as casual but polite, the Customer (especially if they already feel frustrated) may interpret your tone as curt or even blasé about the issue. Be mindful of the wording you use and aim for friendly professionalism.
Engage with your Customers! We recommend that merchants make every effort to respond to questions asked by potential customers and reviews, even the good ones! Showing potential customers that you are a highly engaged merchant who cares deeply about your product and the Customer experience goes a long way for your brand, conversion, and retention.
Seek to find resolution to any disagreement with the Customer directly. Merchants are expected to work with Customers to find a resolution to issues or disputes. In the unlikely event that a resolution cannot be reached, we encourage Merchants to contact our team here to outline the issues and request the assistance you need from Cratejoy. Our goal is to ensure you have a positive experience while offering a positive experience to Customers, so we are here to help. If a resolution cannot be reached between you and the Customer, causing harm to the relationship with your Customer, please contact us at [email protected] with details. If you have not worked to resolve issues brought to your attention by Customers, your reviews, refunds, and general listing status may be impacted. We recognize that disagreements and misunderstandings do occur, however, so we have outlined specific examples and best practices for you below:
Order completion and fulfillment: If you find you are unable to complete an order – whether a subscription or one-time purchase – you must notify the Customer, cancel their order, and ensure the Customer’s refund is processed. (Here’s the difference between canceling an order and refunding one.)
Charging the Customer: We strongly advise against charging a Customer twice before they receive their first shipment. This means you should be proactively managing your Customer sign-ups, their first shipment arrival and renewal periods, and all associated charges. Charging a Customer twice before their first box is shipped almost automatically signs you up for a negative reaction from your Customer, impacting reviews and cancellations.
Increase Consumer Trust Through Reviews
Reviews are a place for current and hopeful Customers to share helpful information about their personal experience with other Marketplace community members. Reviews help the entire community have a better discovery and shopping experience, so Merchants should place a lot of stock into reviews and their importance as they help you to build a strong brand reputation and garner customer loyalty and trust. The Cratejoy team takes reviews seriously. We place high importance on the integrity of your listing reviews because we know that good reviews set clear expectations for potential Customers and drive more business for you. (Win-win!)
Customers are able to leave a star rating and up to three (3) photographs of their purchase. In addition, Customers can edit their review as much as they need. As the Merchant, you are automatically notified when you receive a new review and can respond directly to reviews left on your listing page.
Reviews must follow the Cratejoy policies and guidelines listed below. Should any reviews not follow the below guidelines, the Cratejoy team will take action to adjust the influence this review could have or remove the review altogether. The Cratejoy team also periodically audits the authenticity of each review, enabling us to remove false or misleading reviews that can negatively impact a Customer’s buying decision or experience.
The goal is for reviews to be helpful, respectful, and honest. To ensure this outcome, we maintain the following guidelines for reviews posted on the Marketplace:
Privacy rights: Respect for both the Customer and the Merchant’s privacy is expected. Sharing of private or personally identifiable information is not permitted.
Truthful and authentic: Periodically, Cratejoy will audit listing reviews for authenticity and truthfulness. Reviews must be written on Cratejoy by the Customer to be counted as legitimate. Merchants cannot post a review on behalf of a Customer. Should we determine that any reviews are inauthentic (i.e. comes from a source outside the actual Customer), the review is subject to removal. We recognize there are times where the content is authentic and may be imported or added from other platforms or forums. Should a review misrepresent the truth, whether in reference to the Customer’s experience with the Merchant, opinion of box value or product quality, or something else, the review is subject to removal.
Superfluous reviews: Only one review per Customer, per subscription, is allowed. Should the same Customer submit a second review for the same box, the original review will be removed in favor of the more current review.
Respect: Any harassing, hateful, profane, obscene, or threatening language will not be tolerated. Furthermore, we will remove any and all content that threatens another party (whether Merchant or Customer).
Self-promotion: When writing a review or replying to a review, neither Customers nor Merchants are permitted to promote their own website, social media, other platform, or a product outside the Cratejoy Marketplace. Content that goes against this policy will be edited to remove any promotional references or removed entirely.
If any review violates the above policies or guidelines, the Cratejoy team will remove the review or take action to ensure the review is not negatively impacting others on the Marketplace. We reserve the right to edit, delete, or consolidate reviews at our discretion.
Note to Merchants: If you believe a review is representing falsehoods, does not reflect the truth of the Customer’s experience, or is no longer applicable to your product due to improvements that have been made, please contact the Cratejoy team here for potential resolution.
Create Success from the Start with Your Listing Page
Keeping an up-to-date Marketplace listing is one of the best strategies you can take to grow your sales as a subscription box merchant. There are numerous benefits to listing your subscription business on Cratejoy’s Marketplace, from the 33,000+ sales that the Marketplace receives each month to its status as a zero-risk acquisition channel, its marketing opportunities, and Cratejoy’s on-site search engine. As an additional sales channel, the Marketplace is free to use and attract new Customers; Cratejoy does not make any profit from your listing until you make a sale. Furthermore, Marketplace Merchants are featured regularly in Cratejoy promotions such as flash sales, special collections, on-site blog content, and affiliate features.
The following fields are required to receive approval of a submitted Marketplace listing:
Subscription Product: The Merchant must set up at least one subscription product in their Cratejoy dashboard.
Authentic photos: The Marketplace does not permit stock photography. Rather, we encourage 8-10 high-quality, high-resolution images of your box to include on your image slideshow. This is one of the strongest strategies you can take for a higher conversion rate. Take a look at our Recommended Photographers here for a Cratejoy-exclusive discount.
Readable copy: Your Marketplace listing includes a brief description, a main headline, a detailed description, and a bulleted list of features. You’ll want clear, grammatical copy for each of these. The list of features is best for factual and quantifiable information – think of this like the “product details” or “specs” you see on traditional retail websites – while the detailed description is best for a holistic overview of your product offering and value proposition. Make sure that your copy is accurate for your box, easy to read, and takes a friendly, welcoming tone. Here’s a comprehensive guide to these elements.
Target Ship Date: Your listing cannot be submitted for publication without setting up a Target Ship Date. This information displays on your listing under the Product Overview as your shipping cycle, so it’s crucial to be direct and honest here. Confusion over the shipping cycle is one of the strongest factors in Customer churn.
Categories: Your listing needs to be included in at least one (and up to three) subcategories on the Marketplace. We encourage you select these categories based on relevance to your box above all, not what the market indicates is popular. Accurately assessing where your box fits best will help you find a higher volume of potential Customers who meet your target audience, which leads to a higher conversion rate.
There’s a reason for the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Photographs are crucial to demonstrating the unique appeal and value proposition of your subscription box to potential Customers; they serve as the first line of defense when setting Customers’ expectations and showing off the exciting value of your product offering. For that reason, we have developed the following guidelines when crafting and selecting images to your Marketplace listing.
Quantity: We recommend 4 images as the minimum, but prefer 8-10 high-quality images of your subscription box and its contents for your Marketplace listing. This means naturally and evenly lit pictures of the product and box (without sun flares or dark shadows), high resolution, and landscape orientation. The technical specs for the image slideshow are as follows:
1200 pixels wide by 800 pixels high
300ppi (pixels per inch)
Quality: To optimize your photos for customer conversion, we encourage a mix of layouts in your lifestyle product photography, such as flat lays, product highlights, branded box highlights, unboxings, and lifestyle photos. Because so much of the value proposition behind a subscription box – as opposed to one-time purchases – is based on the experience, traditional retail photography (of objects on a white background) is not nearly as effective as these layouts. We suggest a picture from every angle (e.g. the top, the side, showing the products at scale, etc.).
What is NOT allowed: The following content is not permitted in photos published on the Cratejoy Marketplace. If we encounter photos that include any of the following, we will remove the photo as necessary.
Nudity: This includes photos for underwear or lingerie subscriptions; no modeling, please.
Superimposed text: Not only does an overlaid text caption make it difficult for other consumers to view and understand your photo, but depending on the text you include, this could also go against our self-promotion rule (see below).
Self-promotion or spam: Reviewers may not promote their own website, social media, other platform, or a product outside the Cratejoy Marketplace. (This includes posting an image from Instagram with your Instagram handle superimposed on the photo.) Images that go against this policy will be edited to remove any promotional references or removed entirely.
Screenshots: Any images of emails, screenshots, or other mediums that feature the Customer’s service interactions, rather than the box or included products, will not be published. These go against our privacy rights policies.
Shipping Policies and Guidelines
Because shipping products safely and in a timely manner is so integral to providing a strong Customer experience, we encourage Merchants on the Marketplace to maintain an ongoing and bulk shipping cycle.
Best Practices for Shipping:
Shipping the first box before subsequent charges: We strongly advise against charging a Customer twice before they receive their first shipment. This means you should be proactively managing your Customer sign-ups, the first shipment arrival, and renewal periods, and all associated charges. Charging a Customer twice before a first box is shipped almost automatically signs you up for a negative reaction from your Customer, impacting reviews and cancellations.
Shipping cycle: Ongoing & bulk shipping requires that you ship a Customer’s first box within a few days of ordering, then ship later for everyone already subscribed. If you communicate clearly about your shipping schedule and deliver your box at the communicated time, that tells your Customers – new and preexisting – that you care about providing an exciting, reliable experience.
Clarity in communications: A long wait for the Customer’s first box is one of the highest, most consistent indicators of churn and negative reviews. Your listing should explicitly state your shipping schedule and approximate delivery time from your location, as well as any shipping limitations (such as countries you do not ship to). See below for examples of great clarity regarding shipping:
Delivery problems: Should a Customer reach out to inform you of an issue with their shipment – for example, an item arrived damaged/broken, or their package never arrived at all – it is your responsibility as the Merchant to resolve the issue in a way that leaves the Customer whole and resolves the issue.
Serving the Customer Through Offering Clarity
As an independent Merchant, you have the right to maintain store policies unique to your subscription box business. Cratejoy is not responsible for enforcing an individual Merchant’s business policies regarding issues of service and support for their Customers. As such, we require Cratejoy Merchants to draft a document that clearly outlines their business policies regarding the situations below. This document must be made publicly available to new Customers when they join your email list or purchase your subscription box.
Merchants are required to enforce unique store policies for the following:
Unsatisfactory product experience (e.g. damaged items, late or missing delivery)
Customer service communications and processes
Should a Merchant fail to honor their stated policies in a conflict with a Customer, Cratejoy will be required to intervene and the Merchant will be responsible for the monetary cost of any intervention.
NOTE: The guidelines that follow are not Cratejoy’s expectations of Merchant store policies. Rather, these suggestions may help strengthen existing policies to which the Merchant has stated their adherence.
We believe Merchants do their very best to source high-quality products from reliable, valuable wholesalers and suppliers. Sometimes, though, a supplier falls through, or a product doesn’t quite align with the Customer’s understanding of your box. We ask Merchants to treat these situations with high importance.
Reply to the Customer’s issue promptly. At some point in your business journey, one of your products is likely to arrive damaged; that’s the price of working with carriers on a large scale. We recommend having a prepared response strategy to handle this type of service issue. Demonstrate to the Customer that their concern has been heard and clearly outline what your business is able and willing to do, as stated in your store policies, to rectify the situation.
Communicate clearly what you can do, as well as what you require from the Customer, to proceed. In your communications with the Customer, state explicitly the steps that must be taken by the Customer (if any) to work toward a solution. For example, some Merchants may require the Customer to email photos of the damaged items before a replacement can be issued.
If you can, ship a replacement item or include a bonus item in the Customer’s next box. Because the Customer pays the same amount for each box, they may feel they overpaid if one (or more) items in a given box arrive damaged. If your store policy allows, you might make up for this sense of “overpayment” by reshipping the damaged item or including an extra item in the Customer’s next box.
Returns & Exchanges
A prompt reply is critical in exceptional customer service. Responding within 24 hours of the Customer’s communication can impact the Customer’s experience greatly, and as we all know, a sincere apology goes a long way.
Offer to replace the product – or send them an alternative product. The strategy you take may be dependent on the Customer’s reason for the return/exchange. Some Customers may enjoy the product but need a replacement, while others may prefer a different product in exchange. If the majority of the box does not meet the Customer’s expectations or did not arrive by the date they needed it, you might offer to send them a replacement box for free. If offering a replacement product is not a possibility, you may consider offering a credit for a future product or box.
If an exchange is not acceptable, offer the Customer a free month. Sometimes a Customer is not satisfied by the offer of exchange and requests a refund. If that’s the case, you can either offer them a free additional month, or you can process a refund through your Cratejoy dashboard.
When a Customer cancels their subscription, that means their subscription will not renew in the Cratejoy system. However, it does not mean that the Customer receives a refund automatically. As the Merchant, you are still responsible for fulfilling any boxes left in the Customer's subscription, whether they are on a prepaid plan or month-to-month.
As such, here are the steps we recommend taking when a Customer cancels:
Reach out to the Customer to touch base. Express that you understand their position and confirm with them that you will send them the remaining boxes in their subscription cycle. In other words, ensure they understand that a cancellation of their subscription does not amount to a refund for the remaining subscription period. Customers may not intuit this, so it’s crucial to make that clear from the jump.
Find a solution that works for both parties. Some Customers may request a refund in place of their remaining boxes. It’s better to keep these Customers happy than push back against their requests. Consider this part of your brand reputation efforts; if you indicate you are unwilling to provide what the Customer sees as “good service,” the Customer may leave a negative review on your listing, which could drive away other future Customers. Additionally, some Customers may cancel due to financial reasons, and when they have more disposable income to spare, a happy former Customer is more likely to return.
Ask for feedback. You should always look for Customer feedback to improve your service. If one Customer is dissatisfied or confused by an aspect of your business operations, there’s bound to be many more with the same questions. Follow up with your Customer shortly after cancellation to ask how you might adapt to better serve your Customers.