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Birchbox increased its revenue per session by 10%

Building and maintaining search with an internal team simply isn’t worth the costbenefit tradeoff. With Algolia, we get the added benefit of allowing internal users — business analysts, product managers, and merchandisers — to take the reins of customization and A/B testing.

VP of Engineering

Yuri Broze @ Birchbox
Birchbox
Use case

B2C Ecommerce

Headquarters

New York, NY

Customer since

since 2019

Feature usage

Analytics Dashboard, A/B Testing, Query Rules,

Key results
  • 10% Increase revenue per session

The challenge

  • 1.

    A brand new search experience enables birchbox to cut costs and boost revenue

  • 2.

    Birchbox’s open source search platform drained too many resources

The solution

  • 1.

    Algolia search-as-a-service platform, analytics dashboard, and query rules

The result

  • 1.

    Birchbox vastly enhances relevancy and sees an improvement in key business metrics

The challenge

A brand new search experience enables birchbox to cut costs and boost revenue

“We’re the Birchbox for X” is a common elevator pitch given in the subscription service industry. And rightly so. Launched in 2010, Birchbox found immediate product-market fit, hitting its 5 year goals in just seven months and effectively changing the way people discover and shop for beauty. 

Birchbox’s 1 million global subscribers receive personalized boxes of trial-sized beauty products every month that generate 65% of the company’s revenue. After they sample the products, subscribers can buy full-size versions through Birchbox’s e-commerce shop, which accounts for the other 35% of the company’s revenue and boosts sales for their brand partners. 

For Birchbox, surfacing the correct, most relevant search results was not only crucial for delighting subscribers but also their merchants. However, as the company grew and its needs evolved, they found it increasingly difficult to manage and optimize the e-commerce site’s legacy open source search code.

Birchbox image 1

Birchbox’s open source search platform drained too many resources

Dedicating a significant portion of its engineering team to build a site search experience on an open source platform that could quickly return relevant results and enable Birchbox’s product managers to optimize the experience using data came at a steep cost. At the end of the day, having a team of developers maintain a capability that isn’t core to the business, couldn’t consistently return relevant search results, and wasn’t able to easily analyze data to iterate their search experience proved to be too costly and exhausted too many of the company’s resources. 

Seeking a modern search solution that could cut costs, save time, and allow their product managers to seamlessly A/B test their search experience, truly embrace their data-driven culture, and provide a better search and discovery experience for its subscribers, Birchbox tapped Algolia based on prior experience with Algolia for Birchbox’s France site.

The solution

Algolia search-as-a-service platform, analytics dashboard, and query rules

With the help of Algolia’s customer success team, in 3 months, Birchbox was able to quickly and smoothly implement Algolia without weakening Birchbox’s search experience during the transition. 

Then, armed with Algolia’s Analytics Dashboard and testing capabilities, Birchbox’s product managers and business intelligence analysts ran A/B testing experiments to see which ranking logic generated the highest click-through and conversion rates. The A/B tests showed that Algolia search performed better than the previous solution and provided incremental lift in both revenue and Average Order Value (AOV). Using Algolia’s Query Rules feature, they were then able to expand the logic to improve the entire search and discovery experience.

Birchbox image 2

The result

Birchbox vastly enhances relevancy and sees an improvement in key business metrics

With Algolia, Birchbox was able to increase revenue per session by 10%, average order value by 10%, and shop conversion by 8%. 

In the future, as it continues to refine its technology to meet consumer expectations and support business goals, Birchbox is planning on training more of its business users on Algolia to tune and optimize results, as well as implement more of Algolia’s features including search-as-you-type, guided recommendations, and personalized search.

“Building and maintaining search with an internal team simply isn’t worth the cost-benefit tradeoff. With Algolia, we get the added benefit of allowing internal users — business analysts, product managers, and merchandisers — to take the reins of customization and A/B testing.” Yuri Broze, VP of Engineering, Birchbox

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