Birchbox Tells Customers To B.Y.O.B
Since launching in 2010, the online beauty retailer Birchbox has seen exponential growth. The company now has an estimated $125 million in sales and over 800,000 subscribers. What has set this company apart is its business model where subscribers receive a box filled with 4-5 samples of customized beauty products each month for only $10 a month. The subscription box samples can include everything from skincare products to make-up for women, and grooming and lifestyle products for men. If customers love one of the sample products, they can buy the full size from Birchbox’s website.
Up until last Friday, Birchbox was exclusively an online retailer, but as of July 11, it has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Manhattan. The store has over 2,000 sample and regular sized products from 250 brands and even has a B.Y.O.B (Build Your Own Birchbox) room where customers can choose 5 products for $15. The store also has a “Try Bar” where customers can sample all products and provides group classes which are free for subscribers and $30 for nonsubscribers. Also, like many other cosmetic stores, customers can schedule beauty services with a makeup professional.
Co-Founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp say they were very cautious when designing this store and wanted to make sure it had a “website feel.” An example of this “website feel” can be seen in the stores layout: it is by type of product instead of brand. Therefore, all of the nail polishes are sorted by color instead of Opi vs. Essie. The co-founders also placed a huge emphasis on in-store technology. The store provides touchscreen iPads which contain product information, tutorials from Birchbox.com, and reviews from other customers. Through using this technology, the store can track the most popular products. The store also contains sensors which track where customers are going in the store and which sections they are most interested in. Through this data Birchbox hopes to constantly improve and provide exactly what the customers want. Birchbox’s move to brick-and-mortar has been slow and the company has not confirmed if it has plans to open more stores, but the owners say if this store is a success, expansion could definitely be in the future.