‘Business suicide’: Tweak to Birchbox’s rewards program angers subscribers

Birchbox is having a rough week.

First it was revealed that funding is drying up at the once-buzzy subscription box service, forcing it to slash 50 jobs at its New York headquarters and scale back its ambitious brick-and-mortar growth plans. Now it’s angering fans with a major devaluation to its rewards program.

In an email sent to members, Birchbox announced it is scaling back the number of points people can rack up every month. Previously, subscribers could review as many items as they wanted to in their boxes every month to receive 10 points for each item reviewed. For every 100 points collected within a year, users earned a $10 discount.

But starting on July 11, Birchbox is capping the number of items they can review to five every year, drastically reducing the number of discounts they can collect — and cutting the point expiration date from a year to just six months. However, Birchbox is dropping the 100 point minimum to cash in the points and letting people use them after collecting 10 points.

Birchbox said in a statement provided to Digiday that the changes are meant to crack down on phony reviews, while hinting that it’s meant to cut costs.

“Our customer experience is our top priority and it’s important to us to continue offering a generous loyalty program,” Birchbox said. “We’re implementing a few changes that make the program as simple and rewarding for our customers as possible, while ensuring it’s sustainable from a business perspective.”

But Birchbox’s plans alienated loyalists, who got vocal on Twitter:

The outrage spilled onto Birchbox’s Facebook page, too. “Your [sic] a joke keep pushing your store and screwing your subscribers you will fail,” one peeved person wrote. Another person commented that Birchbox’s changes align it with its “boring” competitors like Sephora, writing “you have to meet our loyalty with honesty and respect for us to support you.”



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