Boxiecat Automates Subscription Cat Litter Delivery with Shift4Shop
Founded in 2011, Boxiecat (www.boxiecat.com) is a subscription cat litter service that empowers cat-owners with the ability to set-and-forget high-quality litter deliveries. Born of the constant need for cat-lovers to restock on litter, the online store allows customers to schedule and customize litter stock for delivery straight to their doors with free shipping.
A Cat Lover’s Biggest Pet Peeve
Josh Wiesenfeld has been a cat lover all of his life, but one aspect of caring for cats had always irked him—until he decided to do something about it. “Cat litter is the one aspect of having cats that isn’t entirely enjoyable,” Josh explains. “Traditionally, getting litter is very inconvenient—it’s heavy to lift and lug, as well as a waste of time and gas. It’s an essential item but requires constant trips to the store. If you run low or (worse yet) run out, it can cause behavioral problems for your cat, and she will let you know she is displeased in very unpleasant ways.”There had to be a simpler way. Josh hit the web in search of a subscription cat litter service that would deliver on a schedule.
He found plenty of online stores that carried cat litter, but none with a subscription option that would allow cat-owners to set-and-forget deliveries and none with free shipping.
“The market had a clear gap,” Josh recalls. “I knew I wanted to start the business—but nearly as exciting for me was the chance to become my own first subscriber.”
Josh had never started a business before. He knew the process would require plenty of research to find out whether the idea was feasible. He’d need to plan each aspect of his business including his store. Out of his research came the framework of a business plan. The next step was to find the right shopping cart software.
Boxiecat’s Out of the Bag
For Boxiecat, one of Josh’s essential needs was a powerful shopping cart that could run a subscription program. It would require the ability to automate payment processing and shipping.“Every piece of our business was in place—from acquiring and manufacturing the core product to storing it,” Josh says. “Now, we needed a solution for setting up subscription orders. Subscribers needed to receive litter on a personalized schedule like clockwork, along with the ability to adjust their shipment timing. Business aspects like payment processing and shipping needed to happen on the backend.”A relatively new feature in the ecommerce market, subscription ability has yet to realize its full potential. As an early adopter, Josh was hoping to find a way to automate the end-to-end customer relationship for Boxiecat while offering customers easy access to support resources if any problems occurred.
The business model was built on a snowball effect: recruiting new customers would add more recurring revenue on top of the recurring revenue of existing customers, and annual revenue would grow organically each month. Because of the potential for steady growth, the software solution would have to be scalable.
His search returned plenty of results. He spent hours studying software suites from Magento, UltraCart, Volusion, Shopify and the like. Some of the software he studied included subscription-based functionality. He also investigated standalone subscription solutions.But only one software suite offered subscription capabilities, a feature-rich solution and scalability for future growth at the right price: Shift4Shop. “For everything that comes with Shift4Shop, it’s priced at a level new small businesses can afford. Simply put, it fit the bill.”
Boxiecat Stands on Four Legs, Finds Great Support
Once Josh had set up his Shift4Shop store, he found that the features packed a bigger punch than he’d imagined. As a package, Shift4Shop offered Boxiecat three benefits crucial to the success of the online store.
• A Secure Hosted Gateway: “Besides being a hosted service, Shift4Shop gives our customers the peace-of-mind that comes with PCI-compliance,” says Josh. “A hosted product means we can up our Shift4Shop subscription when the time comes, giving us the scalability we need.”
• 24/7 Tech Support: “Being my first foray into entrepreneurship, having anytime access to support resources was crucial,” Josh remarks. “The product is intuitive enough, but it’s nice to know that a helpful staff is around if I need them.”
• Connected Order Fulfillment: “We use ShipWorks for backend shipping management, and it integrates nicely into the Shift4Shop platform. The software helps us automate communication to all of our shipping facilities for a more efficient fulfillment process.” The store launched in summer 2011 and has enjoyed great success, due in part to the success of Josh’s “snowball effect.” With just a few clicks online, subscribers sign up, personalize their shipment timing and forget about getting cat litter.
Boxiecat-brand litter exceeds the quality available in pet stores, according to subscribers who have written in through Shift4Shop’s feedback form. Many of them note how convenient the service is and that the consistency of delivery and the quality of the litter has helped their cats overcome a variety of behavioral issues.
In the end, Josh believes Shift4Shop has more than proven itself as the right choice for selling pet supplies online. “As a business, Shift4Shop works hard at connecting with their customers on a much more personal level than you see in businesses today. That dedication helps ensure Boxiecat’s online storefront will be there to meet our subscribers’ needs.”