Beauty junkies unite! Birchbox, an online subscription based program offering samples of various beauty products, is opening its first store location in New York City. The current business model for the popular Birchbox allows subscribers ($10 per month) to receive a monthly package of sample-size beauty items that are curated for the individual subscriber with the hopes that they will buy the full size after sampling. However, the company found many users were in fact buying full-size products, just not from Birchbox, rather turning to other retailers.
With its new store, the company hopes consumers will discover new products through in-store sampling and in turn buy more products directly from Birchbox. Mintel’s Inspire trend Sense of the Intense discusses how intense physical and sensory experiences give brands and products deeper meaning. Birchbox seeks to do just that with its physical store, bringing their online model to life.
According to Mintel’s Shopping for Beauty Products report, more than one-third of beauty products consumers buy items to try something new, and the Birchbox store plans to accommodate the masses, offering approximately 2,000 products from nearly 250 brands.
The store will have a dedicated space for trying out products including a row of vanities and a “build your own Birchbox” section, allowing shoppers to make their own boxes of samples for $15. This will be a popular option for the 36% of beauty buyers who say they would like more sampling of beauty products when shopping in this category. Furthermore, the store will offer classes on various beauty topics as well as services such as hair styling, aiming to create a more complete experience.
Retailers aiming to appeal to today’s shoppers need to reach them in as many touchpoints as possible. Though many consumers may research beauty products online, they are more likely to buy theses types of items in a physical store. Birchbox aims to reach a greater set of consumers through its store presence, while also helping them in finding new products through its emphasis on product sampling.
Ali Lipson is a Senior Analyst with Mintel specializing in Retail and Apparel. With over 10 years of experience, Ali is an expert at identifying and analyzing retail and consumer trends and providing actionable insights to clients.