Birchbox, the subscription online beauty brand, has this week come offline with their first store in NYC’s Soho. The company currently has over 800,000 members and is thought to be worth about $485 million. Just as they re-thought how beauty should be bought online, they’re doing the same with how they present their store. This is no me-too Sephora, but rather a brand that’s trying to make the experience of buying beauty products easier.
So here’s what we think they have done right:
1. Navigation: They’ve moved from the traditional approach of arranging products by brand to sorting them by the way they are bought – Lips, Brows, Cheeks etc.
2. Cross-sell: They’re not just selling beauty but have a small mix of lifestyle products spread through out the store – like iPhone cases, drink bottles, pocket squares and home wears. This might seem like an odd choice, but we think it’s a really smart way to up the basket size (without making the customer feel like they’ve spent too much on ‘beauty product’).
Up-sell: As we saw with the Sephora Institut additional services can be a great way to up-sell. The Birchbox store is no different, they have a manicure and blowout station (another interesting way to increase basket).
Service: There’s the usual sales clerks walking around helping, but some people want to be left alone to shop in peace (and that’s probably why a lot of people were using Birchbox online). So, they’ve integrated an online solution finder into the store which uses a similar search algorithm to their website to help those who’d prefer to work it out themselves.
Customise: At the back of the store is a BYOB (build your own Birchbox) area, this is probably the biggest nod to their online beginnings and most famous product. Here you can build your own Birchbox full of mini samples. When the go-to is to copy Sephora, we think Birchbox have transitioned their unique online offer, offline.