Conference producer Sam Tidmarsh asks Sally Scott, Managing Director UK for Birchbox & eCommerce Expo 2019 speaker, about her advice for brands wanting to infuse personalisation into their business, how to build dynamic digital experiences and the new ‘Me-Time’ campaign launching this month.
Tell us a little about you and how you ended up at Birchbox
It has been an interesting journey! I originally came to the UK to study and eventually work at Sothebys. This lead to a career in fashion magazines with Elle and then Harpers & Queen (now Bazaar). I then moved onto the exciting world of retail, first with Holt Renfrew in my native Canada, and subsequently moving back to the UK to become Marketing Director at Selfridges.
I’ve continued my career in retail with roles at Value Retail (Bicester Village) and Vente Privee (now VeePee) and I became MD of Birchbox UK last summer. Retail is such an exciting environment because it’s always changing and there’s so much to learn. All of my experiences in what would now be considered ‘traditional’ retail inform our strategy at Birchbox where we are constantly looking to create a more connected and experiential experience in an online context.
How does Birchbox produce deep and meaningful relationships with customers?
Well, it’s the challenge that we set ourselves every day and I’d say that we’re certainly doing a lot of things right – we constantly listen to our subscribers and take on board their feedback on everything from about the brands we partner with to the look and feel of the boxes. We also ask each subscriber to complete a beauty profile which allows us to personalise every box to make sure that we deliver an experience that’s tailored to their needs.
For those brands really wanting to infuse personalisation in their business, what tips would you give?
For us it’s all about asking our subscribers what they want and delivering against that. A key element of the Birchbox experience is personalisation which for us means curating boxes for subscribers that specifically relate to the beauty profile they create when they sign up. We take that data, along with a promise never to repeat products and every month build between 30 and 60 different box configurations taking into account different skin type, hair type and colour, and beauty style as well as lifestyle factors such as whether subscribers prefer baths or showers.
Personalisation to that degree is a complex thing to deliver (and requires a very sophisticated piece of software!) but it’s also important to us that we never stop innovating in terms of how we personalise the Birchbox experience. It’s what sets us apart from other brands in the beauty box space and we constantly strive to maintain that relationship with our subscribers.