Birchbox Now Sees More than One-Quarter of Its Business from E-commerce

More consumers are picking up full-size products through the Birchbox Shop portal, according to information announced Thursday by the New York-based “discovery retailer.” Birchbox ships monthly product samples to its subscribers and today pulled the curtain back a tiny bit on its progress in general e-commerce. The company says sales of full-size products now comprise more than one quarter of its business. The e-commerce segment quadrupled in 2012, the company says, and is on track to more than triple this year. The company declined to give any official revenue or sales numbers though.

The bread-and-butter business at Birchbox still stems from sending boxes to its subscribers (women pay $10 per month while men pay $20 per month) packed with sample items from beauty and lifestyle brands such as L’Oréal and Lancôme. Now the company says more than half of its monthly subscribers also buy full-size products from the Birchbox Shop. Nonsubscribers make up about 15 percent of the orders at the e-commerce portal, Birchbox says.

The continued growth, says co-CEO and co-founder Katia Beauchamp, affirms the vision behind Birchbox. “We had this idea that we could change the way online retail works,” she says. By sending its monthly samplers, she says, “We’re impacting what consumers are buying.” Subscribers get to try four to five items per month and then have access to purchase the full-size products. Tracking consumer behavior through its sales, Beauchamp says, also benefits the brands.

Birchbox says since its founding in 2010 it has shipped more than 5 million of its sampler boxes to more than 400,000 subscribers. E-commerce sales through Birchbox Shop are part of the company’s core, says Beauchamp. “Our model has always been about everything working together,” she says. “The health of the business is truly in both sides, subscription and e-commerce.”

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