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Brief Published: 17 Jul 2014

E-Tailer Birchbox's Physical Store

Birchbox, New York

In line with its brand philosophy ‘try, learn, buy’, US subscription-based beauty e-tailer Birchbox has opened its first permanent bricks-and-mortar store in New York’s SoHo district. It offers consumers a physical space in which to discover and experiment with products before they purchase.

The 4,200 sq ft, two-storey space carries more than 2,000 sample and full-sized products from 250 international beauty brands, and is specifically designed to resemble Birchbox’s e-commerce site. Unlike traditional beauty departments, the products in the store are organised by type, not brand – enabling consumers to browse by category, as they would online.

The top floor features a Try Bar, where consumers can test products selected monthly by Birchbox editors to highlight the newest make-up trends and techniques. There is also a B.Y.O.B. (Build Your Own Birchbox) Bar that offers consumers the opportunity to create their own customised box by selecting five beauty samples. 

The lower floor is filled with video screens displaying make-up tutorials and a space dedicated to grooming services such as hair styling and manicures that all use products stocked by Birchbox.

The trend for e-tailers developing bricks-and-mortar stores – a bid to truly master all facets of omni-channel retailing by creating as many touchpoints as possible – is building considerable momentum. See E-tail Gets a Physical Presence for key examples. 

For more examples of customisation and co-creation in the beauty sector, see the Bespoke Beauty section of Beauty Retail Trends 2014, Custom Culture in Future Beauty: Retail & Marketing 2013, and Fuelling the Consumer-Creator in The Rise of Edutainment.

For additional information on the evolution of subscription-based retail, see Subscription Shopping: Personalised Purchases Build Momentum.