Walgreens and Birchbox ‘pilot’ a new innovative beauty experience

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Walgreens and Birchbox ‘pilot’ a new innovative beauty experience

By Louisa Hallett - 10/04/2018
Walgreens and Birchbox combine to give Target a run for its money.

Walgreens and Birchbox are forming a strategic collaboration to create a convenient store footprint that may compete with Targets new personalized beauty concept.  

The companies announced that they will team up to build Birchbox retail experiences within select Walgreens stores. According to the companies, the multi-channel pilot offering will bring prestige beauty brands into Walgreens stores and allow customers to discover and shop for new brands in an interactive and accessible way, and will include a curated Birchbox shop on Walgreens digital properties.

“This is an exciting time for beauty at Walgreens,” said Richard Ashworth, President of Operations, Walgreens. “Our customers want to shop the most sought-after brands in a welcoming and accessible environment, and the addition of Birchbox to our growing beauty offering is a big step in delivering on our promise to differentiate and elevate the beauty experience at Walgreens. This collaboration will help enable Walgreens to continue to strengthen our beauty offering and build our prestige portfolio.”

The in-store Birchbox experiences within Walgreens will have dedicated space with Birchbox branding, elevated design and a curated product assortment featuring full-sized skincare, hair and makeup products from more than 40 prestige brands. Birchbox-trained Walgreens Beauty Consultants will be available to offer advice and guide the customer through the experience.

This pattern follows similarly to a new in-store concept offered by Target, where the company is prioritizing personalization when it comes to its new beauty shopping experience. The company has recently unveiled a Beauty Studio feature that uses augmented reality to try a selection of cosmetics (including lipstick, blush and eyelashes) on Target's desktop and mobile websites as well as kiosks in 10 retail stores. Tech from YouCam maps the products to a shopper's face either in real-time or through a photo. The company is also introducing online Beauty Concierges that can offer text-based tips from the store.

“When it comes to shopping beauty, our guests love to explore,” said Christina Hennington, Senior Vice President of Beauty and Essentials at Target. “With the introduction of these new initiatives, which blend physical and digital to create an enhanced experience, we’re giving Target’s guests even more convenient options to find the perfect beauty items for their unique needs.”

Guests can virtually try on hundreds of makeup items, including different lip colors, cheek colors and false eyelashes instantly via a new beauty augmented reality experience, Target Beauty Studio, on Target.com (desktop and mobile).

The launch of this collaboration with Birchbox marks further progress on Walgreens enhanced beauty offering for customers, which includes a differentiated beauty offering in approximately 3,000 stores across the U.S., a Beauty Enthusiast club within the Balance Rewards loyalty program and more than 3,500 in-store Beauty Consultants.

The initial pilot will include 11 Walgreens locations across major U.S. cities, rolling out from this December through early 2019.

As part of the relationship, Walgreens will also acquire a minority equity interest in Birchbox.

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