Beauty brand L’Occitane has opened a retail concept store in Midtown Manhattan that centers around experiences.
The new 1,870-square-foot store combines digital with hands-on interaction that encourages consumers to share on social media. A video live feed of L’Occitane’s Instagram account is displayed with the hope that visitors will follow them and perhaps be inspired to take pictures of the colorful displays.
“L’Occitane wants fans to walk away from these experiences understanding the brand’s identity and commitments through each exclusive and interactive touchpoint throughout the store,” Paul Blackburn, vice president of concept design, construction and merchandising at L’Occitane told AList.
A number of installations virtually transport shoppers to France—the brand’s country of origin. Stationary bikes are set against the background of a French countryside, inviting shoppers to “bike through Provence.” L’Occitane’s first virtual reality experience takes users on a hot air balloon ride through the south of France, over the Lavender Fields of Provence. Users can enjoy the view via 360-degree video, all while receiving a complimentary hand massage and smelling real-life lavender.
The installations will rotate each month to coincide with featured products, beginning with the new Aqua Reotier Skincare Collection and Verbena Collection. This will allow L’Occitane to appeal to different audiences.
“It’s imperative that anything we introduce enhances the overall customer experience, and as a sensorial brand, it’s imperative that any technology we introduce is well balanced with a human connection,” Blackburn added. “We have always had wonderful products, promising pleasure through beauty and well-being, and that alone used to be enough, but Retail is constantly evolving, now at a faster pace than ever, and we must evolve too.”
Beauty brands are using experiential retail to attract consumers that are as eager to post on Instagram as they are to try on new products.
Glossier is opening a pop-up retail location this week in Chicago that will be decked out in Instagram-worthy style with stark white and pink decorations. The experiential retail store will feature a “Glossier Canyon” selfie station and “hidden sound moments” meant to set the desired tone in each section. NYX Beauty Bar integrates traditional retail with social media inspiration in-store and interactive tutorial stations. Touch screen displays allow consumers to search Instagram posts in which users are wearing a particular shade or product.
L’Occitane is growing its presence worldwide and was the first French company to go public in Hong Kong. The Manhattan location has already attracted over 2,400 visitors during its soft open, making it L’Occitane’s most popular American location in terms of foot traffic.
While the brand reported a 27.1 percent drop in revenue for the year ending March 31, the company expressed confidence in its expansion efforts, especially in China. Appealing to a young, digital audience with experiential retail may help L’Occitane reach new demographics.