retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Inventiva reports that “Walgreens has entered into a strategic partnership with beauty-in-a-box startup Birchbox, which will involve building Birchbox experiences inside Walgreens’ stores so customers can shop and try new brands … The Walgreens deal will help Birchbox reach new customers by allowing it to establish an expanded brick-and-mortar presence.”

The story notes that “the deal also sees Walgreens acquiring a minority equity interest in Birchbox … Despite having become a brand name in the space it helped to define – subscription box startups – Birchbox has been facing competition from Ipsy, Glossybox, Sephora and Allure Magazine. Even Target and Amazon do their own beauty boxes now.” The Walgreen deal is seen as giving it a stronger foundation on which to grow.

The story points out that “this rollout will begin in 11 stores across major U.S. cities. Six stores in Chicago, L.A., NYC, and Minneapolis will launch Birchbox experiences this December, followed by five stores in Chicago, Dallas, L.A. and Miami in early 2019. At pilot stores, Birchbox will also offer subscriptions to its monthly delivery service of samples, and a ‘Build Your Own Birchbox’ experience like it has at its own flagship stores in New York and Paris.”
KC's View:
This is the drugstore equivalent of when a grocery store makes a deal with a meal kit company … it expands the palette of offerings, establishes a level of expertise, and creates something cool that could attract new shoppers. Smart move, I think.