In a move to expand its beauty aisles by including high-end cosmetics to its assortment of products, Walgreens has taken a minority stake in subscription-box company Birchbox. For its part, the beauty e-retailer will have the opportunity to expand its physical presence across the USA.
Birchbox has claimed since the opening of its first physical store in New York that the development of its physical presence will be key to its growth. The company has been facing competition from both pure players and more traditional beauty retailers, such as Sephora, and has seen online growth slowing but continues to report “over 2.5 million” active users.
The first six Birchbox-branded Walgreens beauty departments are scheduled to open in December of this year in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. And in early 2019, Walgreens will add Birchbox shops to five more stores in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami. In addition, a curated Birchbox shop will be added on Walgreens.com.
“Our customers want to shop the most sought-after brands in a welcoming and accessible environment, and the addition of Birchbox to our growing beauty offering is a big step in delivering on our promise to differentiate and elevate the beauty experience at Walgreens. This collaboration will help enable Walgreens to continue to strengthen our beauty offering and build our prestige portfolio,” said Richard Ashworth, President of Operations, Walgreens.
The in-store Birchbox experiences within Walgreens will have dedicated space with Birchbox branding, elevated design and a curated product assortment featuring full-sized skincare, hair and makeup products from more than 40 prestige brands. Birchbox-trained Walgreens Beauty Consultants will be available to offer advice and guide the customer through the experience. Additionally, within the Walgreens pilot stores, Birchbox will offer subscriptions to its monthly delivery services of personalized samples and a “Build Your Own Birchbox” experience (BYOB), which is a signature element of Birchbox’s flagship stores in New York City and Paris.
“In Walgreens, we have found an exciting partner that supports our mission of reaching an underserved customer who doesn’t prioritize beauty,” said Katia Beauchamp, CEO and Cofounder of Birchbox. “Birchbox has effectively changed the relationship that this customer, who represents 70 percent of the market, has with beauty and increased her spend in the category. Walgreens is deeply committed to beauty and shares our vision for a different type of retail experience - one that is holistic, seamless and designed to help shoppers make informed, confident decisions. Together we will continue to evolve the integration of our physical and digital shopping experiences.”