Birchbox Inc. is cleaning and redecorating its digital home to get consumers to shop for products or subscribe to its monthly beauty boxes in a more direct way. Birchbox.com, in a site redesign that debuted last week, now has a streamlined product selection, an easier-to-navigate menu and an aesthetic meant to emulate the design themes of its beauty boxes, says Meredith Schwartz, Birchbox’s vice president of product. The site also now includes more beauty-related content.
“We tried to take the principles that have made our monthly box successful and apply them to a more self-directed shopping experience—one that gives customers the information they need to intelligently browse and find the products that meet their needs,” Schwartz says. “Our strategy is to give [consumers] fewer options to choose from and better guidance so their experience is easier and more productive.”
Birchbox’s site currently reflects the design of its July subscription box with light greens, pinks and blues sprinkled throughout—but the retailer plans to change its design theme every month. It will take elements from each box design, such as the color scheme and patterns, and incorporate them into the header image, font color, rollover colors for links and more, Schwartz says. “It’s a subtle touch, but the goal is to help connect the digital experience to the physical one,” she adds.
The retailer also trimmed the navigation menu from several categories and shopping options to just the basics. Before the redesign, the shop navigation was consolidated into a single menu with about nine product categories. And then each of those categories had anywhere from 10 to 30 exposed subcategories, Schwartz says. The new menu retained its ‘subscribe’ button, while refining the navigation into category pages for just makeup, hair and skin. Consumers do not need to be a monthly subscriber to shop on Birchbox.com.
With its skincare menu option, for example, once clicked, it shows four steps of skincare: cleanse, treat, moisturize and protect. The skincare section before showed all of the subcategories and product types—from cleansers to serums to elixirs to moisturizers—on a single, large overlay with “no organization to make sense of the products offered or the steps to build your routine,” Schwartz says.
“We thought about how to meaningfully group categories of products so our customers don’t have to sift through a giant navigational menu, and also so they can learn about product types that they may have considered to be non-starters before,” Schwartz says.
Once a consumer has clicked on the “moisturize” step, for example, she is taken to a page that, rather than list several products as the retailer did prior to the redesign, details why moisturizing is important. As she scrolls down the page, the details break out into several more sections: “get to know moisturizing products,” best sellers, “choosing a moisturizer for your skincare goal,” customer favorites and blogs related to the product selection. Every category’s page has sections broken out in a similar way.
“[This] allows us to pair category-level education with specific product recommendations,” Schwartz says. “Each page is custom built, allowing us to highlight the right products in the right moments and explain why they’re relevant to you.”
Next up for Birchbox is figuring out ways to bring more new customers to its website and subscription box, but it has no specific plans yet, Schwartz says.
Birchbox, No. 204 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, says it makes 65% of its revenue from monthly customer subscriptions and 35% from non-subscription products sold on Birchbox.com. The retailer’s web sales grew an Internet Retailer-estimated 21.0% in 2017 over 2016, according to Top500Guide.com, but the retailer declined to give a specific sales number.
Viking Global Investors in May agreed to invest $15 million into the beauty retailer, CEO and co-founder of Birchbox Katia Beauchamp confirmed to Recode. “We are prioritizing product innovation, the evolution of our digital experience and scaled partnership opportunities,” Beauchamp said, regarding the investment. Birchbox’s other investors—including venture capital firms Accel Partners and First Round Capital—are getting wiped out and are expected to walk away with nothing, Recode reported. Since its 2010 founding, Birchbox had raised nearly $90 million in financing from investors.