Birchbox Inc., an online retailer that sells personal care products by subscription, is following the lead of some other web-only retailers by opening a bricks-and-mortar store in New York City.
The store, which will be located in the trendy Soho neighborhood of lower Manhattan, will sell full-size and sample-sized products from 150 to 250 of the brands the retailer features in assortments subscribers receive each month. Birchbox’s $10 a month subscription for women ($20 for men) includes sample-size beauty products and accessories from the 450 brands that are sold in standard-size packaging on Birchbox.com. Anyone can buy individual products at Birchbox.com.
Following the lead of such e-retailers as Bonobos and Warby Parker, Birchbox tested the retail market with pop-up shops in New York and the Hamptons, a resort area on Long Island, before announcing this week plans to open its first permanent retail location. Birchbox promises “a full retail store experience” that includes makeup and hair-styling classes and a unique BYOB, or build-your-own-box, section for customers to create their own Birchbox full of samples of their choice for $15. The store will open in late May or early June, the company says.
Adding a high-tech feel to the planned store, Birchbox plans to deploy touch screens throughout the store that shoppers can use to access product information, recommendations and customer reviews.
Birchbox, No. 720 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Second 500 Guide, says it doubled its subscriber base to 800,000 in the last year. The retailer says 30% of its sales come from full-size product sales on its e-commerce site.