Free Products and Discounts Help Shieldbox Grow
The business started to acquire customers with a focus on the American police community. “We started by communicating with new officers who were in the police academy. We offered them free gear and discounts in exchange for them helping spread the word among their graduating classes. From there, we moved into influencer marketing, which helped us grow our early audience at a minimal cost,” Maneggio added.
“We found ambassadors in the New York Police Department (NYPD) academy, a small local police department in Georgia, and an FBI National Academy class,” said Maneggio. In addition, the business has run influencer marketing campaigns with Free Field Training, a law enforcement website that has over 140,000 YouTube subscribers.
Making an early start in the NYPD and FBI is a significant business win because both are large organizations. NYPD has more than 36,000 officers, while the FBI has over 30,000 employees across its operations.
Shieldbox Grows With New Suppliers
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ecommerce company has had to switch its suppliers. “We have started to work with new suppliers like State Patriot, a clothing company that produces face masks, Volt Grooming, a grooming company that began making hand sanitizer, and Arrest My Vest, who produces a cleaning spray for body armor,” Maneggio shared during the interview.
Overcoming Shipping and Logistics Challenges
Shipping and logistics problems have also posed challenges to the business. "We were affected by shipping issues related to the USPS experiencing higher than normal volumes and being understaffed due to the pandemic. With the subscription model, delayed shipping can be devastating to subscriber retention," Maneggio explained.
USPS shipping delays are increasingly becoming a business problem in the ecommerce field. In the 2020 holiday shopping season, UPS and FedEx declined to accept additional packages, which placed higher demands on USPS, according to a Washington Post report.
The subscription box company has made it a priority to focus on customer service. "Constant communication with our customers (even if it meant responding at 2 a.m.), and replacing every package that was delayed or lost, helped us retain our subscribers," said Maneggio.
Medical Supplies Are Popular With ShieldBox Customers
Given the risks and dangers of police work, it is no surprise that medical products have been popular. “Our most popular medical supplies have been tourniquets, medical shears, bandages, and hemostatic agents. We recently heard from one of our subscribers that used hemostatic gauze to control the bleeding of an individual who sustained severe cuts after falling on glass,” Maneggio told Startup Savant in an interview.
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.