I first discovered Birchbox Man on my Facebook newsfeed. I was not particularly looking to purchase this type of product; in fact, I was just browsing to find out what my friends were up to out in the world prior to going to sleep, but Facebook had other plans for my night. Facebook’s algorithms placed an ad from Birchbox on my feed based on my interests, “likes”, and friends. Looking a little deeper, it turns out that my subscription to Men’s Health was the driving force behind why Birchbox specifically targeted my feed. Men’s Health readers tend to be more conscious of their health and mindful of their appearance than other people. Birchbox primarily offers men’s grooming products online. However, that is not their point of difference, nor what piqued my interest; there are plenty of webstores that offer such products. Birchbox set itself apart via the subscription service which was prominently featured in the ad along with a free month trial offer. The reason to believe was that the company would send a personalized box of grooming products and other men’s seasonal “goodies” based on areas of grooming I found lacking a proper product. Essentially they offered to remove the hassle of searching for the perfect product or tool and gave me the abundance of choice. By also sending additional products (the “goodies”) each month, they simulate the feeling of discovery without actual having to venture out into the store with no idea of what to look for. Birchbox definitely employed outbound marketing in this case as they actively targeted my Facebook rather than waiting for me to get pulled to their web content.
The ad was convincing enough that I decided to click through to the webpage; I had entered “The Funnel” within 2 minutes of viewing initial contact with the advertisement. The ad had done its job by convincing me to click through. Now it was up to the web content to convince me to follow through on a purchase. The link took me directly to a specialized shopping area which included the free month trial offer and explained the details of the service in a very succinct and simple manner. When it comes to online shopping, especially where credit card information is required, simple is better; the less complex the instructions and terms are, the more trust that is generated since users feel like they understand the whole process and are in more control. This simplicity is one of the reasons I decided to continue with my purchase; the other reason was the free trial, which showed Birchbox’s confidence in the product. Given that it was free trial, a greater percentage of visitors who decided to hit “Add to Cart” would also end up hitting “Buy” on the next page. There would still be some defectors due to the fact that credit card information was still required; some people just do not trust themselves enough to cancel in time most likely due to past experiences. However, I knew I would cancel on time if I truly did not enjoy the product and I really would not consider signing up for something I would not consider continuing if I did happen to value the service.