Beauty Store Business

DEC 2018

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beautystorebusiness.com | December 2018 43 TECHNOLOGICAL TOUCHES Retailers are now using technology more than ever to oer a streamlined, in-store experience. Trevor Sumner, CEO o New York-based Perch Interactive, believes that technology is shaping the beauty and ashion industries– with brands and retailers such as Jo Malone, Sephora, Neiman Marcus and Reebok stealing market share by creating dierentiated experiences or their highest- margin products in-store. "In this new technological era, customers demand an immersive, personalized and streamlined shopping experience, both online and in-store," Sumner notes. "Mobile and online content provide rich inormation, rom how-to videos to ratings and reviews to regimen suggestions and more, which shoppers are accustomed to when making purchase decisions but too rarely ind in-store. Whether it's through sel-discovery or a guided selling experience, digital solutions can address the rictions in the shopper journey and create an engaging, educational and entertaining experience." McReynolds believes that Sephora is the most notable example o a beauty retailer that has mastered the ability to embrace digital across all customer touchpoints. "With an intense ocus on technology-driven, immersive, in-store experiences (the Sephora Virtual Artist tool, Color IQ and more) combined with expert beauty advisors, Sephora is blazing the trail or how to create un, dierentiated customer experiences while blending the best o physical and digital retail," McReynolds says. She adds that retailers are also rapidly adopting and deploying augmented and virtual reality capabilities– including Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Lowe's, IKEA, Nike and L'Oréal–and believes that beauty retailers can also leverage these technologies to drive experiential market- ing. "For example, a beauty retailer could transport a customer to New York Fashion Week with ront-row or behind-the-scenes access to the latest runway makeup looks or hairstyles, with product recommendations on how to get the look in-store," she explains. "Or, through augmented reality makeup apps or mirrors, customers could try on a new beauty collection and preorder items beore they even hit the shelves." Sumner agrees that in industries like ashion and beauty, customers oten want to see a wide selection o styles as they browse. Technology can give customers access to these options without leaving the store. "For example, at Neiman Marcus, customers can explore products, see similar colors and styles, and see lookbooks o how to accessorize and complete the outit, all naturally engaged the moment that a customer picks up a product," Sumner says. "Beauty retailers can also reap the beneits, like with Sephora's Virtual Artist; this innovative tap-and-try makeup booth uses augmented reality to let shoppers try on an ininite number o lipstick shades and can digitally order out-o-stock products instantaneously." Sumner notes that the growing trend o retail person- alization not only creates a new method o shopping, but also drives sales. Perch, or example, has acilitated 30 percent to 80 percent product sales boosts and ive to 10 times increased customer engagement or retailers and brands using such technologies. "As customers interact digitally with their avorite products, it can reignite their interest in brands and lead to experiences that heighten the senses and lead to a purchase," he concludes. However, McReynolds warns, bolting on tech or tech's sake won't necessarily enhance the customer journey. "Retailers must be thoughtul about asking how a particular technology, like augmented reality or virtual, removes riction rom the customer interaction and adds value to the in-store experience," she explains. "The retail environment o the uture will ocus less on pushing products and more on driving unique, remarkable customer experiences that create brand enthusiasts, and we're inding that technology helps drive those experiences orward. Ask yoursel, 'Will it enhance the customer journey and ease the path to purchase?'" IN-STORE ENGAGEMENT Technology can grab the attention o today's savvy customers, but another successul approach requires just the opposite: connecting with them in a personal way. "In the age o dot-com, I eel that engaging with customers on a real-lie level is o utmost importance," stresses Jessica Richards, ounder and owner o Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, New York. "The experience they receive at Shen is unparalleled; we are small and have very low employee turnover, plus our sta is incredibly knowledgeable in all o the products we carry, with a master makeup artist in-store. It gives every person who enters the door a true SETTING THE MOOD The right lighting, music and perks, like free in-store beverages, can go a long way toward making your store a must-visit destination for clients. "For lighting, the brighter the better, as it shows flaws—and then we can fix them," says Jessica Richards, founder and owner of Shen Beauty in Brooklyn, New York. "And for music, being that we are young and fun, we like to have the traditional, like Rolling Stones, mixed with the new pop songs. Everyone loves both of those genres of music." Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of The Lion'esque Group in New York, notes that the ideal music will vary from brand to brand. She points to one case study that researched the effect of "musical fitting rooms," with brands programming the music according to the tag of the clothing (think rock 'n' roll for jeans shoppers or classical for evening attire). "All the senses have an impact on how you perceive a product or brand and how it'll fit into your life, creating an emotional connection," Gonzalez explains. "You can have different lighting or smart mirrors to show what you'll look like wearing cosmetics in daylight, in the office or at night. Or you can have a video recording during a makeover that allows customers to later review the video and practice copying the look at home." Alternatively, having a particularly memorable scent permeating the store can trigger memories long after customers leave. When appealing to customers' senses, don't forget the basics to truly set the scene. Sephora's Visual Artist lets customers see what various products look like on their skin type with the tap o a screen. Courtesy o Sephora

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