Subscription beauty retailer Birchbox announced Thursday that it’s opening its second brick-and-mortar store in Paris’ Les Halles shopping district this coming spring, buoyed by the success of pop-up ventures there.
Birchbox in 2014 opened its first full-line physical store in New York City’s Soho neighborhood, and shoppers there have a 3x higher lifetime value with the brand, the company told Retail Dive in an email. Birchbox also leverages data from in-store shopper behavior.
Birchbox sells cosmetics online and through pop-ups (and its one physical store) in the U.S., U.K., France, Spain, Belgium and Ireland.
France is Birchbox’s biggest market in Europe (and the largest beauty market in Europe generally). The company previously opened pop-up shops within Parisian department stores Le Bon Marche and Galeries Lafayette, and the full-line store coming to Paris in March or April will mirror that of the store in Soho, with a build-your-own-box section where customers can customize Birchboxes, shop full-size products, try products at a “sampling bar” and other testing areas, interact with specialists who provide personalized service and expertise and schedule hair salon services.
Birchbox is expanding its physical footprint after revolutionizing beauty e-commerce with its curated monthly subscription boxes of samples. “It’s a really big opportunity for Birchbox to pursue brick and mortar, so that's something that we are really looking into,” co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp told Retail Dive late last year. Plans for more U.S. stores are in the works, but there's nothing to report on that front just yet, the company said Thursday.
Harvard classmates Beauchamp and Hayley Barna co-founded Birchbox in 2010, but as imitators entered the market, the company struggled somewhat. Birchbox says it now has more than 1 million subscribers globally and 4 million total customers, and features some 800 beauty and grooming brands.
While competitive pressures conspired to stall Birchbox's expansion into overseas markets, led to the dismissal of 80 of its 300 employees and ultimately threatened its ability to fill its monthly curated boxes, Beauchamp told Retail Dive that the company has put its troubles behind it and is focusing on profitability. Physical stores are part of that plan, she said, considering that beauty sales, which are booming, remain a largely offline endeavor: About 90% of beauty shopping still happens in stores.