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Birchbox leverages its concept through a first store in New York

After having defined its own retail channel through its beauty boxes sent monthly to subscribers and an online store, Birchbox now opens its first brick-and-mortar retail store in SoHo NYC. Enough to shake up traditional retail? Maybe.

Located in SoHo, at 433 West Broadway, in lower Manhattan in New York City, the very new Birchbox store features 2,000 products from 250 brands including Smashbox, Caudalie, Jouer, Supergoop!, Cynthia Rowley, Baxter of California, Lab Series, and Art of Shaving.

The store concept leverages the insights and feedback gathered from the company’s more than 800,000 active subscribers: editorial content, videos and product reviews throughout the shop to help customers learn and self-navigate, touchscreens on display throughout the store to help customers to source product recommendations, and testers available for every product in the store.

Product discovery takes centre stage

A vertical merchandising strategy allows consumers to shop by category instead of by brand. For example, a shopper could come in looking for a red lipstick and compare different types in the ‘makeup’ section of the store.

The store also features a “Try Bar” where customers can experiment with different beauty trends and find the products that are right for them. Also, for a personalised experience, a dedicated B.Y.O.B. (standing for “Build Your Own Birchbox”) section allows shoppers to hand-pick five sample size products of their choice for 15 USD. A good way for the retailer to recruit new members of the Birchbox community…

Services and education

There are different beauty services available by appointment (and for walk-ins when available) for hair, nails and makeup, as well as group classes on a variety of topics. Classes are designed to appeal to all types of beauty consumers and allow them to sample, try and learn about the products. Classes will be free for Birchbox subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers.

Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” said Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behaviour online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customer’s needs.

Omni-channel retail concept

Launched in 2010 in the U.S., Birchbox sends every month a selection of sample size beauty and grooming products, adapted to the profile of its subscribers who provided information about their skin and hair conditions. In April 2012, the company launched Birchbox Man in the U.S. and in September 2012, Birchbox acquired France-based company JolieBox, thus gaining outposts in France, Spain and the UK. Additionally, through Birchbox’s online store, customers can shop full-sized products from more than 800 brands. With the opening of the SoHo store, this omni-channel retail concept is certainly one of the most well-conceived to date.

Birchbox is well-positioned to understand omni-channel beauty given its start as an ecommerce company, and learnings gained from a series of successful pop-up shops throughout the years. The Birchbox store is another channel to help create a robust shopping experience, allowing Birchbox to engage with consumers through multiple touch points - from commerce to content to trial - and further bring it’s 360 retail experience of ‘try, learn, buy’ to life,” the company explains.


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