Consumer Confidence Crisis: Why is Birchbox Out of Stock?

February 1, 2017

I’m an 8.5 month pregnant lady. It’s fair to say I’m in perma-crisis-mode. When I received a wonderful gift of a 3-month subscription to Birchbox from my sister-in-law, I was thrilled. To have something show up monthly that gives me beauty products that make me feel better about myself, as I cross over 30 lbs weight gain, is really a blessing.

To top it off, two products in particular seem to be amazing. A Nuxe facial cream combined with dr. brandt pore cleansing product. No wonder, as advertised, these are best sellers! I’ve tried a million products, and nothing has worked as quickly or effectively to improve my skin texture.

I’m ready to move beyond the sample and buy the full sized products.

I know I can go to Amazon and get these products, but since Birchbox has introduced me to them, I’m going there first to give them my business as a thank you.

Here’s my problem: Birchbox is out of stock.

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One of their self-proclaimed top selling products - out of stock. But who has stock? Amazon. So today I buy Nuxe from Amazon.

 

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What happened next is even more interesting. Because I’m already in Amazon’s experience, and buying something else, I look for the Dr. Brandt product so I can price compare.

Dr. Brandt on Amazon: In stock, $20.95.

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Back to Birchbox because I’m really trying to give them some business: In stock, $36.

 

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Where we’ve landed is this: It’s unacceptable to be out of stock, and overpriced. Even disruptive subscription-based, digital native models like Birchbox have not been able to figure out how to achieve endless aisle and price competitiveness.

This is why Amazon is winning - and not just in growth. They’re winning in loyalty. They’re winning in experience. They’re winning in reliability.

Amazon is has achieved the holy trinity of customer experience: Never out of stock, competitive prices, and outstanding service. In Amazon I trust.

Birchbox - take note. Your business depends on this.

Jess Iandiorio

Written by Jess Iandiorio

Jess joins the Mirakl team as the SVP, Marketing after 13+ years in sales & marketing in the Boston tech ecosystem. Prior to Mirakl, Jess helped Acquia grow from $30M to $100M+ by building the digital experience market and Acquia's position in it. Jess was also previously in product marketing at Endeca, a commerce site search vendor sold to Oracle in 2011 for $1B+. Early in her career, Jess spent 5 years at Forrester Research focused on researching enterprise software.