While many e-tailers have been setting up stores or showrooms to support their online businesses, Birchbox has apparently become the first subscription service to open a physical space.
For $10 a month, Birchbox sends four to five deluxe beauty and lifestyle samples to each subscriber customized to their profile. Founded in 2010, Birchbox has about 800,000 monthly subscribers. Full-sized versions of the samples are available for sale on the company's site.
The new two-level, 4,500-square-foot store in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood at 433 West Broadway is expected to boost e-commerce sales of full-sized products, which presently accounts for only 30 percent of Birchbox's business. The opening follows pop-up tests in New York and the Hamptons. Co-founder Hayley Barna told The New York Times, "We saw some clues along the way — wow, it's really powerful to interact with our customers."
According to a statement, the store features:
"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, the other co-founder, in a statement. "We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers' needs."
Monthly subscription services, also known as mystery boxes, can be found across categories but are particularly popular in the beauty category. Birchbox's competitors include Popsugar, Glossybox, Julep, MyGlam and Ipsy.
What's the likelihood that more monthly subscription services will be opening brick & mortar stores over the next three to five years?