How Birchbox Meets Customers Where They Are

The beauty world is full of customers who love to experiment with new products, watch makeup tutorials and spend time finding the best items.

But what about customers who care about their skin and beauty but don’t want to spend the time finding and trying new products on their own?

These are known as casual consumers. They want to try new things but are often overwhelmed or don’t have time for the number of products on the market.

Most beauty companies market to serious consumers, making casual consumers an unserved market, says Ali Edgerton, Birchbox U.S. President. Birchbox was founded in 2010 as a way to provide casual consumers great products without them having to find and experiment on their own. Birchbox was the first subscription box—an incredible accomplishment when considering the thousands of subscription boxes now on the market.

The innovative concept is relatively simple: each month, consumers receive a box with five deluxe-sized samples of beauty products picked just for them. The model works well for casual consumers who want to try new things and get the right products for their hair, skincare and makeup routines, but who don’t want to sort through products on their own. Birchbox has grown into a multi-faceted platform that allows consumers to subscribe for monthly products or simply buy products from the online storefront.

Birchbox meets the modern customer where she is by creating a multi-channel experience that relies heavily on data and personalization. When users first subscribe, they answer a series of questions to set up their profile. Birchbox compares that data to how casual consumers relate to the beauty industry to put personalized items in each box. Customers also have the option to choose a few items on their own.

Data continues after the box has been delivered with a robust review system that allows customers to give feedback for each item and gives Birchbox a better understanding of what is and isn’t working for each customer. As Birchbox collects more data, it provides an increasingly personalized experience.

Birchbox also stays on top of trends that appeal to casual beauty consumers and puts together curated packages separate from subscription boxes. These products are designed to help casual consumers tap into new beauty trends and get everything they need in one place. One of the most popular recent discovery kits includes everything consumers need to fight maskne, or acne caused by constant mask-wearing. Casual consumers would likely be overwhelmed trying to find the best products on their own, so Birchbox makes it easy for them to get everything in one click. And the strategy is working—the kits are in constant demand and are flying off the shelves.

Edgerton says Birchbox uses data to create a picture of what customers want and need. Her greatest satisfaction comes from introducing something to a customer who didn’t know they needed it.

Relying on data to provide personalized experiences and meet customers where they are is a large part of the reason for Birchbox’s success. It hopes to continue its innovative approach to beauty and retail as it sets the example for other subscription models. 

To try Birchbox for yourself, Edgerton is giving The Modern Customer Podcast listeners a discount with code VIP50.

Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Sign up for her new course here.

For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

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