SoBakeable blends subscription- and meal-kit marketing model for sustained engagement

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

SoBakeable blends subscription- and meal-kit models for renewals
By blurring the line between subscription boxes and home delivery meal kits, industry newcomer SoBakeable  takes the best parts of each category to create a unique business model that promises sustained consumer engagement – an essential component that continues to elude many meal kit providers.

Like other wildly popular meal kits that exploded in late 2015 and 2016, SoBakeable mails consumers  box with pre-measured ingredients and detailed instructions to make both simple and complicated desserts each month. But unlike most meal kits, SoBakeable requires a minimum commitment of three or six months, and is positioned more as a hobby or creative outlet rather than a way to get dinner on the table, which is more akin to subscription boxes that curate snacks and other goods.

In addition, SoBakeable auto-renews consumers after their initial commitment period ends, resulting in a drop-off rate that is “very, very low,”​ said Jocelyn Hui, a company co-founder.

She explained that consumers can easily opt out of the auto-renewal, but that the vast majority choose to continue to receive the box each month.

“We have subscribers right from the beginning [in March 2016] who are still with us” ​10 months later, “and many more who we have picked up along the way who quickly became loyal fans”​ interested in renewing, she said.

SoBakeable strives to retain its roughly 500 paid subscribers through great customer service and “lots of nurturing,”​ in addition to the convenience and consistency auto-renewal provides both consumers and the company, Hui said.

As a result, the young company has grown more than 100% each month since it launched and it expects to double in size in 2017, Hui said.

Recognizing that not all consumers want to commit to three to six months up-front – especially if the baking box is gifted – the company also offers a limited supply of one-off kits through its online store.

The individual box sales make up about 15% of the company’s overall sales, and provides it an important avenue for selling surplus kits, rather than having wasted product if the company anticipates and makes more boxes one month than it has subscribers, Hui said.

The individual boxes also are a way consumers can purchase favorite kits again – yet another way SoBakeable nurtures ongoing consumer engagement and renewal, which is a significant challenge for many meal kit services that shoppers buy only occasionally or a novelty experience.

Dropping perishables adds flexibility

Another strategic difference between SoBakeable and most other meal kit services is it includes only non-perishable, dry ingredients in its boxes.

This means the company does not need to operate as many manufacturing hubs and has a simpler supply chain, Hui said. She added SoBakeable also has less packaging than competitors that must keep some ingredients cold – allowing it to dodge the waste complaints that consumers often have of other meal kit providers.

Because the ingredients are shelf stable, food waste is less of a risk if consumers are unable to bake the projects in each box when they first arrive.

Hui says this aspect is particularly important to her because she knows from experience how frustrating it is to order a meal kit but not be able to use it before some ingredients spoil and are wasted.

More than ingredients

SoBakeable also differentiates its kits from others by including special tools that can help consumers complete each project.

The tools, such as a specialized spatula, can be added to consumers’ collections for future use and serve as a reminder of SoBakeable and the experience it provided.

The young company also goes beyond providing the recipe cards that are a common component of meal kits by providing additional information on its smart phone app Snap, Watch, Learn.

Hui explains that the smart phone app allows consumers to snap photos of images on the recipe cards to pull up and view video demonstrations of techniques used in that step of the baking process.

“Our subscribers enjoy that on-the-fly access to information about techniques that they might not be too sure about, such as two-handed piping,”​ Hui said.

Going forward, the co-founders of SoBakeable hope to further develop the phone app to make it even more of a companion to the instructions in each kit, Hui said.

In addition, she said, in the next six to 12 months, the young company will expand and tailor its offerings to help consumers better enjoy “family quality time, make food memories and get creative in the kitchen,”​ Hui said. 

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