With so many retailers struggling these days, I can’t help but notice that the beauty industry continues to thrive. The New York Times reported last year that “prestige beauty sales in the United States rose 6% in the 12 months ending in February, tallying $15.9 billion, according to the market research company NPD Group. Makeup alone is up 11%, totaling $7.3 billion.” Sephora and Ulta are killing it, celebrities are launching beauty brands that sell out in under three hours, and beauty/influencer collaborations are becoming more common. It’s clearly a great time to be in the beauty industry.
With the digitization and multiplication of devices in our society, consumers are looking for a smooth and fast customer experience. Online retailers and applications have caught on to this, offering high-performance services: delivery within 1 hour with Amazon’s Prime Now or with Carrefour for those living in Paris, possibility of being delivered ‘anything anywhere’ with Clac Des Doigts. Even administrative services are turning to digital: since 6 November, driving licences and vehicle registration certificates can be ordered online and delivered directly through our letter box. It is now perfectly possible to do all our shopping without setting foot outside our door!
In the face of this onslaught from online retail, is the traditional brick & mortar store doomed to disappear? In what ways can it adapt in order to reignite the appeal of the in-store experience and meet consumers’ new expectations?
Jamaa el Fna is one of the world’s oldest marketplaces. People have gathered in this space continually for more than 1,000 years. It’s so special that UNESCO has declared it a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Culture of Humanity.” It stands as a reminder that shopping in marketplaces is an ancient human activity performed every day, everywhere, in every part of the world. So what can we learn from a place like this?
Every year, our businesses invest colossal sums in R&D (also known as innovation). Obviously, these sums are subsidised to a fair extent by our governments, as it is innovation which really makes the difference, and it is out of difference that business success is achieved.
In is this era of proliferating “devices” and “touchpoints” (points of contact), customers enjoy a new autonomy and freedom to buy anything, anywhere, at any time based on desires and constraints. The counterpart of this freedom is “putting the customer to work everywhere and anywhere” “where someone did it for him before, he now has to do it himself”. This fragmented shopping experience means increasingly complex shopping trips, which can be anxiety-provoking and generate a loss of meaning.
The first #ParisRetailWeek store tour on September 19th featured an itinerary of eclectic brands which embody the show theme of « Live Retail » and prioritize the customer experience.
The tour focused on the discovery of retail spaces which have resolutely chosen an interactive, customer-driven, and immersive approach, offering consumers a new vision of the product and creating a dedicated world. They model unique ways in which retailers are extending their relationships and exchanges with consumers, thereby increasing added value.
Here is a review in pictures of the tour I had the chance to join as “special reporter” from the US.
We hear it more and more often: physical retail is increasingly about creating experiences. It’s not for nothing that ‘Live Retail’ was central in Paris Retail Week held in last September. The ever-growing knowledge concerning consumers enables retailers to offer highly personalised shopping experiences, is the idea. A round of the various new shopping concepts in the French capital shows that ‘creating an experience’ can be interpreted in many different ways.
During Paris Retail Week, it’s always a good idea to participate in one of the Paris Retail Tours, especially when it is guided by a renowned retail expert (Patrick Russo on this occasion) and it promises to present ‘atypical’ retail concepts. As was the case on 20 September.