Join Jeff, Meg & Stephen for Industry Insider Mar. 22ND at 12 PM EDT Watch Now
Sponsor - Click to visit; Right Click for samples, personalization, and more offers
Sponsors - Click for samples, personalization, and more offers

You’ve Got Mail: Brilliant Business Lessons from Birchbox

By Aubrey Collins (originally posted 12/16/15)

6/7/2022 | PromoJournal Staff, From The Freezer

Think about this for a second: every month, one million people pay $10 to receive little samples of beauty products in the mail. And while I am one of those one million people, I still think it's a bit absurd.

That said, when I pulled that bright blue Birchbox package out of the mailbox this evening, I almost audibly squealed. I felt like I was receiving a gift from a friend — a really thoughtful and fashionable friend who is up on the latest beauty trends — not from a subscription service that bills my credit card once a month.

Subscription boxes abound these days, but monthly subscriptions are nothing new. Gift-of-the-month clubs have existed for decades. Cheese, wine, CDs. (Those of us born between 1974 and 1984 will never forget experiencing the wrath of our parents after we fell for Columbia House’s siren song of "8 CDs for a penny" ruse.)

So with copycat subscription boxes proliferating e-commerce and monthly subscriptions themselves being a standard commerce tactic, what makes Birchbox stand apart and enjoy being the brand synonymous with subscription box?

They make their customers feel special. My Birchbox was addressed to "The Lovely Aubrey Collins." Such a simple little detail, but flattery will get you everywhere. They include complimentary messages in their emails and postcards within the box, too, and even though it is something they do for all their customers, it doesn't feel disingenuous and still adds a special touch. I'm not suggesting you start addressing your customers with the word "lovely" before their name (although that would be all sorts of awesome), but there are certainly ways you can treat them with distinction and inject your personality at the same time. Two points if you are able to utilize an often-overlooked touch point like the address field of a mailing label. 

They delight with details. After my initial excitement of unexpectedly receiving my Birchbox (one benefit of time moving way too fast!), the joy continued as I opened it — before I even got to the samples. The box was a gorgeously designed white box with reflective little silvery shapes in a fun, zigzag, wintery pattern. Then I got to the products within, which included niche and luxury brands that take the same approach to details and design. Since we're in the business of branded merchandise, I'm going to assume you've taken good care to brand your customer interactions, but it's equally important to make sure you are curating that branded experience with consistent high-level design and details that can serve you.  

They make it easy to discover. Before checking out Birchbox, I was in a funk where I was using many of the same beauty products that had been in my arsenal since college. (And, alas, I've long been out of college.) Occasionally I'd try something new, but it was easier to stay with what I knew, even if I was bored with it. Now that I'm regularly trying products I wouldn’t normally purchase and sampling out colors I never would've given a chance, I'm having fun experimenting and getting close to purchasing some new items and brands I'd never even heard of before.

Make sure you are taking the Birchbox approach when it comes to helping your clients discover the great new things in the industry. Take advantage of self-promos. Get your clients to try out the different lines you offer in a fun way each month.

Okay, I'm off to try out my new French green clay mask, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you can give your brand a Birchbox boost.

Latest from PromoJournal...

6pc Wine Set from Lincoln Line

Hidden storage for celebrations

Achieving is Believing

10 Secrets to Guarantee Life Success
Cliff's Notes

Basketball Bottle Opener from Lincoln Line

Make that perfect swish