Should Sephora be in subscription boxes?
Sephora last week revealed plans to introduce its first beauty subscription box, five years after the arrival of Birchbox, the apparent leader in the space.
Called "Play! by Sephora," the service will cost $10 a month — the same as Birchbox — and sends subscribers five "deluxe-size" items, each curated by theme, along with some samples and possibly Spotify playlists, according to Fashionista. Some reports expected Sephora, with 1,900 stores globally and LVMH as its parent, to benefit from its leverage in securing coveted items.
The package also includes "Play! Book" content with beauty advice as well as a "Play! Pass" for subscribers to redeem in store for a free one-on-one learning session with a Sephora beauty expert. Sephora has 360 stores in North America.
Sephora’s subscription box will debut this September in Boston, Cincinnati, and Columbus, OH with a nationwide rollout set for next year.
The subscription service was conceived in the retailer’s Innovation Lab, which opened in San Francisco in March 2015 to explore digital shopping experiences. The Lab already launched Flash, which offers free two-day shipping for $10 a year.
Play! By Sephora follows the success of Birchbox, which has raised over $72 million in funding since 2010. Birchbox promises subscribers a way to sample fragrances and cosmetics without committing to a full-size product, although the business has recently been finding success driving sales of full-size products through the site. More than 30 percent of its revenues are from the sale of full-size products. Birchbox has also expanded into men’s, opened its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City last July with more to come, and has begun selling through Gap’s doors.
Other competitors in the beauty subscription space are Ipsy, GlossyBox, Julep Maven, Goodebox, Allure Sample Society, Beauty Army and Blissmo. Among more mainstream stores, Target and Wal-Mart have come out with beauty subscription boxes.
- Play! by Sephora – Sephora
- Sephora Finally Launches A Subscription Box Service – Fashionista
- Sephora Is Launching A Birchbox Competitor – Fast Company
- Sephora Unveils Subscription Box Service In Three U.S. Markets – Retail Touchpoints
- Sephora launches Birchbox-like subscription service – Retail Dive
- Birchbox to test Chicago store with weekend pop-up – Chicago Tribune (tiered sub.)
- Which Beauty Subscription Boxes Are Actually Worth The Monthly Fee? – Consumerist
- Which Beauty Box Subscriptions Really Deliver? – ABC News
What are Sephora’s advantages and disadvantages competing in the subscription box space? Do you see more brick & mortar stores debuting subscription box services over the next few years?