Birchbox, an early pioneer in the product subscription business, has just announced that after some rocky times, it has turned the corner to profitability. And it’s returning to TV advertising to drive more sales to its $10-per-month beauty sample collections.
The new ad, which it developed in partnership with the Bindery, a production agency, “focuses on showcasing who our customer is and how Birchbox fits into her life,” says Amanda Tolleson, head of marketing. “We remain hyper-focused on the same core customer—one who is interested in beauty but not obsessed, and one that has been mostly ignored by the beauty industry.”
She tells Marketing Daily this spot grew out of research based on subscribers telling them what they love most about Birchbox, with three insights emerging to drive the creative approach. She says they value “the joy of a ‘monthly treat’ and getting something in the mail, the excitement of the unboxing moment—discovering your personalized mix of beauty samples each month, and the ‘aha’ of the matchmaker moment, when you discover that perfect product.” Users are especially happy when they fall in love with an unexpected product.
While the TV spot includes small segments from a variety of women, the campaign also includes longer videos of each one, which are scheduled to appear in social media as the campaign continues.
She says the company is continuing to learn from its retail expansion, including its New York store and the just-opened Paris location. “Retail has proven to be a powerful element of the Birchbox experience, and our stores helps consumers really understand the Birchbox personality. Customers who shop in our store have a three-times higher lifetime value with us, and our physical presence has helped open the door to working with a number of new brand partners.”
She says the stores are a kind of a lab, providing microdata that drives decisions in digital and subscription marketing. But expanding its physical presence is key to growth. “More than 90% of beauty is purchased offline, so continuing to build our brick-and-mortar footprint is an important way to reach our target customer, and create a unique shopping experience for them that's easy, efficient and non-intimidating.”
She declined to say when and where the next stores are slated to open.
In a recent blog post, co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp announced the company’s newly profitable status, after a bumpy period of lay-offs and pruning tens of millions of dollars in operating costs to “regain control of our destiny. I’m proud to share that Birchbox is now profitable, self-funding accelerated growth, and standing on our most solid ground ever.”
She also says December was the biggest subscription-acquisition month in its history, followed “with our best January ever, our best February ever, and best March ever.”
Last week, the company also relaunched the Birchbox Loyalty Program, which rewards people with points for buying full-sized items from our online shop.