Birchbox, which operates in six countries (United States, France, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Spain), has opened its first brick-and-mortar boutique in France, the second in the world after New York, opened in 2014.
The first consequence of the opening of this new point of sale is the entry of prestige beauty brands with distribution contracts requiring at least one brick-and-mortar shop for the distribution of their products. Thus, leading beauty brands such as Clarins, Clinique, Bobbi Brown and Bumble & Bumble have joined the Birchbox catalogue in France.
However, according to Philippe Pinatel, President and COO at Birchbox, the first goal of this new store is to strengthen ties with customers. "Our goal is not to boost customer recruitment but to increase the engagement of our community," he said. "That’s why we opened a studio upstairs the store and which will allow us to organize events for our members."
Logically, the next development step will be the opening of a first brick-and-mortar shop in the UK rather than the opening of another point-of-sale in France.
In-depth consumer knowledge and optimal customization of the offer are a corner-stone of the company’s growth strategy. "For a brick-and-mortar retailer, in-store traffic is the most important figure, but it is a very impersonal data. On the contrary, e-retailers gather a lot of data. We even developed several algorithms to exploit that and to better meet the expectations of our customers," adds Philippe Pinatel.
Actually, Birchbox must manage 50 different boxes in France and 150 in the United States, and must be careful not to put twice the same product in a box. The company thus developed a series of interpretation models to better anticipate the expectations of its clients and to customize the visit of its e-shop. “ Algorithms are at the heart of our business. In this context, the brick-and-mortar shop allows us to diversify the data we collect.”