Updated Message from Birchbox re: Points Program

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Birchbox has released this video regarding the Birchbox points changes.
If you don’t want to watch it, the summary is basically that the points program was an unsustainable business model.
The original message from Birchbox is below – if you’re looking to switch it up, check out our list of Birchbox alternatives.

There’s also an interesting WSJ article (so many complaints that it rose up to WSJ coverage level!) and a provocative quote that says just samples is kinda boring (Bloomberg piece).

The Birchbox points program is changing starting July 11. Here are the main points:

  • You will be able to spend points in any increment.
  • Beyond your first 5 sample reviews (total, it seems) you won’t earn points for reviews.
  • Points will expire 6 months after receipt.

This is a major change and reduces the value of a Birchbox subscription pretty substantially. What are your thoughts?

Check out our list of other beauty boxes to try instead of Birchbox!


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  • Starlet

    BB has always been pretty consistent until these past few months. Over the past week I have managed to finally spend my points on Swell bottles. (They work great!) I now have a balance of 7 points and the BB Customer Service department has been exceptional (I have needed to contact them for every order I placed.) BB seems to be having issues with Aces being charged for shipping when the shipping is free for them so it has become necessary to contact them for each order. I also had coupons that were not being honored and the lovely gentlemen in their CS gave me extra points for the coupons. I spent those successively as well. The CSR I spoke with today told me they were swamped and most were very angry. I am past angry over all of this and jut wanted to spend the points while I could. I believe they are losing the majority of their members at this point. The sad thing is BB started all the subs and did not keep up with the competition and decided brick and mortar was best. Alas, they cannot compete with Sephora or Ulta or the local cosmetic counters when it comes to brick and mortar. It was also reported today that one of their major people has left the company as well. I would like to know why they did not send out surveys to their customers asking what they would prefer or giving them a choice rather than treating us like high school students with poorly produced videos and lame email announcements. When the CEO decides to launch another business she needs to hire a new business consultant and a new PR firm.

  • Jordan

    I think this is a case of good intention, poor execution. It’s a sudden, and jarring move without any (or very little) compensation to subscribers. Conducting a survey, raising box prices by $1-3, or making a promise to try to include higher value items would have probably been met with a better response. But overall, it seems like people want their points back, and I don’t blame them! So I think the ultimate best thing to have done would be to restructure the points system in a way that still allows subscribers to rack up points each month, maybe just not as many (ie you can only review one or two items a month) or to make the points less valuable (ie 20 points=1 dollar or something like that). I’m not a Birchbox subscriber anymore, but I actually rely on those reviews to influence my purchases and if people are less incentivized to write reviews, that might mean that I’m making fewer purchases. In a way, I feel for Birchbox because they were one of the first on the scene and now they have so much competition, but I wasn’t impressed by the way they handled this, or this DIY very unprofessional ( IMO) video.

    • Brandy

      my june (non-curated) BB review is about to go up, and i do admit that that box in particular tempered my views a little, because the value was really great. i do have to say that i agree with everything you wrote – there were NINETEEN THOUSAND reviews already of the benefit brow gel. (almost 20k). That’s crazy.

      I also dislike the snapchat/live videos as an official communication vehicle of large brands. the unboxings and reveals when they could just have a photo are ridiculous. i love watching my YTers because those are personal experiences but I do NOT need to watch an hour of a video to get the spoilers for a box. BB and TZR are offenders in this area!

  • Gloria J

    Very surprised at Birchbox. This is really a bad move on their part business-wise. They are going to lose many,many subscribers because of this. I unsubscribed a few months ago. I am glad I did.

  • Virginia

    I agree with M9. I have continued on with Birchbox partly because of the points they provided. I have tried several other skin care subs and will have no problem replacing Birchbox. Thanks for clarifying their notice. I received the info in an email and did not fully understand what they meant.

  • M9

    I subscribe to quite a few boxes.. and I’ve canceled a few due to getting a lot of re peat items in the boxes.. The point system was the main reason I’ve kept my Birchbox subscription. Since they are getting rid of it my last box will be the July box..

  • AlexaDT

    Holy moly, an unstable business model they kept around for how many yrs?? LOL. Again, I feel that they are insulting our intelligence. I also feel that things would have gone A LOT smoother had they simply even made it APPEAR that they were gathering customer feedback on this and other ideas BEFORE the change. I , along with many other consumers who plan to cancel their memberships have stated that if the raise in shipping, or any other monetary issues were the problem, we would have been happier if they’d asked for a slight price increase or even a restructuring in the point values. I think the main thing that really got a lot of us heated, was the implications that WE had anything to do with this decision by stating that they had “heard us”. As if they had tons of feedback asking for this aspect of the program removed. With the quality of the boxes and samples being what they are, most of us ONLY subscribed because of the points we received for our reviews. I truly think that with the way they have handled this situation, that this company has a foot in the grave, one they’ve dug themselves. On the bright side, there are SO many wonderful subs out there that are a better value for the money, especially now. So most everyone will find a replacement pretty darn quickly, and will most likely be much happier for it. Thanks Birchbox!

    • Chailene Sanders

      Exactly!! The major problem that has p*ssed off so many ppl…is that Katia has been touting how much “total honesty and complete transparency and being dierect & upfront with the customers is SO vital and important to us”…. while at the same time through out this entire thing since that email was sent out on Monday—they have done but flat-out LIE and copy & paste complete bullsh*t responses that made absolutely no sense when customers asked direct questions of them for 3 DAYS before Katia uploaded this video. And it’s obvious that she only did so after DAYS of silence and bullsh*t..as a PR salvage attempt once the huge numbers of immediate cancelations began tallying up and she had had time to consult with her lawyers & PR staff.

      • Chailene Sanders

        **Nothing but lie and auto-responses full of marketing terminolgy terms meant to be intentilnally & specifically worded to be vague and confusing. Even in her PR salvage video…the ONLY truthful thing she ever says, is about the financial troubles & struggles Birchbox has been having (for the past year because of HER poor business decisions and mis-management of the last $60 million financing partner deal from over 2 yrs ago..that have been the primary capital funds keeping this company going).