Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
In what is seemingly a growing trend among digital companies, US-based e-commerce startup Birchbox has opened its first physical retail space, at 433 West Broadway, Manhattan.
We’ve followed the startup since its early days, having originally launched its monthly subscription service of sample-size beauty and grooming products back in 2010. The company revealed its plans to open a physical store earlier this year, so today’s news isn’t actually surprising.
In the store, you’ll be able to peruse an assortment of products from 250 brands, and a “dedicated B.Y.O.B (Build Your Own Birchbox)” service, which lets shoppers hand-pick five sample size products of their choice for $15.
Additionally, it’s trying to give it an online feel with what it’s calling ‘editorial content’, which is videos and product reviews throughout the shop, and touchscreens that let customers answer questions about themselves to source recommendations.
This is a big move for the company, and it’s certainly a good way of expanding its brand and building on the 800,000 subscriber-base it has garnered entirely through e-commerce. The New York-based company has raised north of $70 million in funding over the past four years, including a chunky $60 million just a few months back, so it’s clear where at least some of this money is now going.
“Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” explains Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers’ needs.”
Other internet heavyweights have transcended their online roots and hit the physical realm too, with eBay’s click-and-collect service and Amazon Lockers becoming a more common sight out in the wild. There have been a number of other small-scale, or temporary pop-up stores emerge from the digital sphere too, including Birchbox which has previously opened short-term outlets. But with its Manhattan launch, it seems that Birchbox is now serious about its offline credentials.
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