Birchbox recently opened up its first retail store in New York City. The beauty e-commerce startup is known for its subscription service, where customers pay $10 per month to receive a box of product samples. The company has attracted more than 800,000 users since launching in 2010, but only around 30 percent of those subscriptions translate into full-product online sales from Birchbox.com. Its new store is an attempt to figure out why
Discounts have been around as long as retail has. And on the web, the flash sales wave pushed them front and center. But I was still surprised when I recently visited certain non-flash sales e-commerce sites to find that young startups with aspirations of creating brands with cachet would be offering discount promotions to first-time buyers right on their homepage. So I asked three of them that offer homepage discounts in exchange for an email address — menswear maker Bonobos, high-end T-shirt startup Pickwick & Weller, and women's jewelry seller BaubleBar — to explain their thought process.
While many traditional retail businesses are still making their way online, a handful of native e-commerce companies are moving into brick-and-mortar retail. The latest of these is BaubleBar, a two-year-old online retailer of affordably priced jewelry. On Oct. 17, the company will open its first shop at 230 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Why the move into offline retail? Co-Founder Amy Jain says it was in the road map from the beginning, and the company now feels it knows enough about consumers in the area to open a store.