Have you ever watched people as they enter the Apple store? They might come in to buy an accessory for their iPhone, but before they make their purchase, they stop to play with the latest version of the iPad or check out the newest iPhone. Even children, who notoriously despise shopping with their parents, enjoy going to the Apple store. Why? At Apple, it’s all about consumer experience—having the ability to play with the technology without any pressure to buy, although, as evidenced by Apple’s sales, they almost always do.
What Beauty Retailers Learned from Apple
Beauty retailers have learned a lot from Apple’s model—primarily that consumers expect a unique, interactive experience every time they visit a store—and we’re seeing new experiential concepts springing from them. Women’s Marketing looks at the innovative trends at retail that put the consumer in the spotlight.
The Sephora model has changed the retail beauty industry. Gone are the days where beauty was hidden behind a counter accessible only to salespeople, Sephora’s immersive retail model invites guests into a sensual, entertaining world where they are encouraged to explore products at their own pace. Like Apple’s stores, sales reps have been replaced by beauty advisors who demonstrate the latest trends and products—the equivalent of Apple’s Genius Bar—and guests are encouraged to experiment and play.
Ulta Beauty has been undergoing a rapid expansion with plans to open 100 new stores this year. The secret to Ulta’s success is its mix of prestige and affordable mass beauty, coupled with in-store salon services. Like Apple, offering both products and services under one roof offers consumers the convenience and affordable beauty indulgence they crave.
Bluemercury recently partnered with Macy’s to launch The X-Bar, an innovative concept featuring small kiosks that allow consumers to experience new trends and product launches with fast service from trained experts. The X-Bar offers quick solutions for busy “guests” imitative of Apple’s consumer-focused problem solving approach.
Nyx, the affordable beauty brand, once only available at mass drug and department stores like CVS and Target, is dipping a toe into branded brick and mortar stores. In January they opened the first of six planned retail locations in California and one in New Jersey. The brand plans to leverage its huge social following and drive sales with user-generated content created in-store. Shelf displays throughout the store will be outfitted with an item scanner and digital screen. When a customer scans an item, any user-generated content tagged with that specific product, such as user reviews, will pop up. Consumers will be prompted to share their own experiences and social content will appear on a digital content wall. Makeup trends, top-selling items and most-liked products appear on the wall which users tap to learn more about the products and find them in-store. This highly interactive experience and Nyx’s affordable price point will most certainly engage beauty enthusiasts—after all, who doesn’t like a good selfie? Like the Apple store, Nyx’s goal is to make you feel good about the brand and your in-store experience.
This is an exciting time in retail. The old beauty marketing model has evolved—now consumers are in the driver’s seat. Smart marketers are evaluating what other successful retailers are doing and building upon those concepts to develop their own unique brand. As leaders in marketing to women, Women’s Marketing understands how female consumers engage with brands throughout the buyer journey. Contact us today to learn how we can put our expertise in media strategy, planning, and buying to work for you.