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Editor's pick product Retail

Chanel’s new beauty wonderland invites fans to slow down and discover


Chanel has launched a new beauty retail concept in NYC where it is inviting fans to discover and play with the line’s range through interactive experiences that encourages them to slow down. The store, called Atelier Beauté Chanel, offers trial experiences as well as appointment-only events and services, such as makeup lessons, with the brand’s artists-in-residence.

Upon entering the store, guests are given personal lockers to keep their belongings in, so they are free to browse the displays. They are then prompted to create a personal profile on their phones in order to keep track of the items they have tried and liked. This profile will also allow them to book for other one-to-one experiences in the future.

Sinks for hand and face washing are also available at the store entrance, further setting a tone: this is not a place where clients are encouraged to rush in and rush out.

The space is heavy on experiences, such as encountering a mysterious black door labeled “Atelier Parfum Chanel”. Guests must make a reservation to visit this space, which is a no-spray counter where they are invited to blindly sniff scented porcelain testers labeled with numbers instead of names. It’s an exciting way to discover a scent without being influenced by the color of the perfume or the design of the bottle, but simply its smell. It’s also a great way to step outside the box of feminine and masculine labels: according to Chanel’s perfume expert, most women choose a men’s fragrance and vice-versa.

At the perfume bar, clients save the numbers of the scents they like through the mobile website. After they’re done, the site reveals the names of the fragrances and saves their order. Guests leave with a doubled-C branded bracelet dipped in their preferred scent to take home.

Atelier Beauté Chanel

Other experiences in-store further push the discovery of the label’s makeup and skincare ranges. At the makeup area, counters are divided by different areas of the face. For example “Skin Enhances” for foundation and concealers, and “Eye Definers” for mascaras, eyeliners, shadows and brow products. A lip bar is by far the most visually appealing, as it displays lipstick pigments on a wall not too dissimilar from an upmarket paint store.

Meanwhile over at the skincare counter, store associates are on hand to talk customers through their personal skincare routines. Customers are then offered two different sample packages to purchase, varying by length of the routine they hope to achieve. Once the customer is happy with their purchase at home, the purchase price can be redeemed against store credit to buy any full-size foundation or skincare products on Chanel.com

As brands strive to become increasingly digitised and push for convenience at their retail spaces, Atelier Beauté Chanel proves the opposite. Here, slow luxury still has plenty of room to play and engage with an audience that is craving experiences that allow them to take a minute and wander.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Retail technology

CoverGirl’s new tech-enabled flagship focuses on discovery and personalization

Covergirl
CoverGirl

Makeup brand CoverGirl’s new Times Square store in New York is encouraging shoppers to immerse themselves in an experiential playground with tech-enabled experiences that include a virtual greeter and AR glam stations.

The store, which is the first under the brand’s new “I am what I make up” philosophy, is designed to be a shared beauty experience, where consumers are encouraged to discover, try on and express themselves through makeup in several different ways.

“We can’t wait to open our doors to the public and let our fellow CoverGirls in to play and to ‘make up’ what CoverGirl means to them,” says Coty’s Consumer Beauty CMO Ukonwa Ojo. “The CoverGirl flagship represents this incredible moment in beauty – where rich experiences matter most and where true self-expression and experimentation are the only beauty standards.”

Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by Olivia, an AI virtual greeter powered by Google’s Dialogflow that can answer questions, share beauty trends or simply direct customers to their desired products. A try-on station allows shoppers to pick up a lipstick or eyeshadow from a tray and have it automatically overlaid onto their faces via augmented reality mirrors, similar to Coty’s Bourjois boutique that opened in Paris earlier this year; to provide the personalization that consumers crave, another station allows them to customize a lipstick and/or makeup bag; lastly, in-store staff, or CoverGirl BFFs, will be on hand to provide advice, tricks and recommendations.

The store’s design has also been developed with the young beauty consumer in mind, with every corner providing a selfie-ready backdrop that allows shoppers to share their looks and shopping experiences.

Being that the new flagship is at one of the world’s busiest areas for footfall, it will be open daily from 10am until midnight.

Increasingly, beauty brands are deploying augmented reality to further engage with a consumer who is prone for interaction. Beyond Coty’s new Bourjois and CoverGirl stores, this year L’Oréal also announced the introduction of digital beauty assistants that use AR to show consumers looks via video on the NYX app.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick mobile Retail Uncategorized

Nike’s new flagship empowers customers with seamless, unmanned shopping experience

Nike's new NYC flagship
Nike’s new NYC flagship

Nike’s new NYC flagship unlocks a new level of convenience by allowing customers to navigate the shopping experience in-store entirely on their phones, using the brand’s existing app.

Shoppers at the 5th Avenue store, called House of Innovation 000, can use the app throughout their entire visit and have a completely unmanned experience if they wish to do so. This includes using the “Scan to Try” feature that lets customers scan QR codes on products to get them sent to the fitting room for try on; “Shop the Look”, where a QR code will bring up a mannequin’s entire outfit, which the customer can order through their phone for home delivery; and most importantly, a self-checkout feature where the shopper can pay seamlessly through their phones on services like Apple Pay and PayPal.

Future retail locations around the globe will follow the same concept, blurring the lines between physical and digital.

Customers at home can even reserve shoes online to try on in real life. In this case, the items are placed in a locker with the person’s name on, which they can then unlock with their phones once in-store. The area has its own entrance, so shop-goers can be in and out in a matter of minutes.

The six-storey building also offers multiple environments built around specific needs, such as The Speed Shop, which has all the brand’s most popular items ready to buy; The Arena, a customization area where shoppers can order shoes in whatever color they want; and the Nike Expert Studio, offering one-on-one appointments with stylists.

Nike's new NYC flagship
Nike’s new NYC flagship

In addition to the digital and personalization features, the design of the store is modular, with walls that can be moved using a grid system. In as little as a day, it is possible to adapt the store into a completely different setup for a special event.

Nike’s first hybrid concept store opened earlier this year in Los Angeles as a lab for testing new retail ideas. After tracking members who had visited the store, they gathered that customers spent 30% more online later than those who didn’t have the in-person experience. Meanwhile in October, the brand also opened a similar concept in Shanghai where it has reported it is signing up a new member to the official app every two minutes.

In creating an entirely unmanned experience but still offering customers opportunities for personalization and interaction, Nike is striking a balance between two very different consumer speeds: convenience and experience.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: Alibaba smashes Singles’ Day record, 2018 as the year of Virgil Abloh and Meghan Markle, holiday catalogs

Singles' Day 200 billion yuan sales figure
Singles’ Day 200 billion yuan sales figure

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba sets Singles’ Day record with $31 billion in sales [Bloomberg]
  • Ebay declares 2018 the year of Virgil Abloh, logos and the Markle Effect [FashionNetwork]
  • Why catalogs still have a hold on holiday marketing [RetailDive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Sephora and Google partner on hands-free experience [WWD]
  • China is now using gait recognition to identify people [FastCompany]
  • AI news anchor makes debut in China [NPR]
  • AI bots are awkwardly learning how to dress themselves [Dazed]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Is sustainability incompatible with fashion? [i-D]
  • The suddenly surging business of recycled plastic puffer jackets [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Glossier opens first NYC flagship [Fashion Network]
  • Zalando looks to Alibaba for connected retail inspiration [Fashion United]
  • Amazon to inaugurate first pop-up shop in Italy [WWD]
  • Dollar Shave Club plans vending machines in high-traffic areas [Retail Dive]
  • JD.com competes for luxury partners with high-tech and white gloves [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • WeChat reaches 1m mini programs, half the size of Apple’s app store [TechCrunch]
  • Anya Hindmarch gets down to business, helping procrastinators and the scatterbrained [WWD]
BUSINESS
  • Black Friday 2018: Consumers are eager, more digital, and willing to spend [McKinsey]
  • Betting on Richemont’s future [BoF]
CULTURE
  • This size-inclusive lingerie show just put the Victoria’s Secret runway to shame [Teen Vogue]
  • Saint Laurent launches art project with Daido Moriyama exhibition [WWD]
  • Why fashion’s future will be shaped by male consumerism [Highsnobiety]
  • Hedi Slimane and the art of the ‘drop’ [BoF]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Topshop buzz score drops, advanced analytics for apparel, analyzing the streetwear bubble

The streetwear bubble
The streetwear bubble

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Topshop “Buzz Score” drops after Green allegations [The Industry]
  • Geek meets chic: Four actions to jump-start advanced analytics in apparel [McKinsey]
  • Is the streetwear bubble about to burst? [Highsnobiety]
  • How open-source innovation may transform fashion [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Menswear retailer Jacamo launches voice shopping [Drapers]
  • Tencent is launching its own version of Snap Spectacles [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Plastic waste elimination pledge by 2025 attracts more big firms [BBC]
  • Is fashion’s eco-consciousness more than a label yet? [BoF]
  • These gorgeous colors come from dye made by bacteria, not chemicals [FastCompany]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • If we built the retail model from scratch, what would it be? [BoF]
  • Goop opens first permanent store in New York City [Glossy]
  • Singapore’s frictionless grocery store and dining concept [LS:N Global]
  • Digging into drop culture: Evolving a roaring retail ritual [Forbes]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior aims to lure new audiences with digital influencer Noonouri [Vrroom.buzz]
  • Barbour Christmas campaign celebrates 40 years of iconic festive film [The Scotsman]
  • H&M launches holiday 2018 campaign starring Aubrey Plaza [Highsnobiety]
  • Designing people’s Instagram Stories is now a million-dollar business [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Revolve’s blend of data and fashion supports case for IPO [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Why voting is in fashion [New York Times]
  • How Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty is changing the lingerie game [Vogue]
  • What can luxury brands learn from Gucci about millennials? [Forbes]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Editor's pick product Retail

From Pharrell to Barneys: the importance of collaboration

Pharrell Williams at the Fast Company Festival
Pharrell Williams at the Fast Company Festival

Collaborations were a recurring theme at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, which took place in New York this week, with a push for retailers to increasingly step out of their comfort zones.

On a panel about strategies for wooing younger customers, Daniella Vitale, CEO of Barneys New York, said that finding good partners to collaborate with is hard. “They need to have a willingness to look outside the model that already exists, but there’s this desire to control the brand a certain way,” she explained. “It’s not all the time that it’s easy to convince people to do it our way.”

This is an even bigger challenge when working with legacy brands that have been successful with the same approach for 30 years, she added. “Brands have to think about how Barneys can add value when they participate in a drop, or by doing an exclusive capsule line with us, or doing something online when normally they don’t sell their product online. We need partners to come on this journey with us.”

The creative industry has a lot to teach retail about the importance of taking a risk in order to achieve success through collaboration, other speakers noted. Pharrell Williams, for example, talked to taking a leap of faith when he recorded Happy, the 2014 best-selling single that earned him an Oscar nomination. “The career risks we take are the ones most rewarding,” Williams remarked in a panel about creativity and collaboration.

Pointing across the stage to Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of film and animation studio Illumination, and his collaborator on the track, Williams added: “I’m grateful when people see things I can’t see.” The two worked together on Happy for 2010’s animated film Despicable Me. This was the first time the artist had ever recorded a soundtrack.

Melendandri, who was previously president at the 20th Century Fox Animation studio, also weighed in on the importance of constant self-disruption. “The natural tendency when you hit a period of success is to stop taking risks because you think there’s safety in replicating what you’ve done before. That’s the greatest danger,” he warned.

“Comfort is very sneaky,” agreed Williams. “It feels good, and sometimes you don’t even realize you’re comfortable. But to get the best out of yourself, you have to put yourself into positions where you’re uncomfortable or vulnerable.”

Collaborations between brands that complement one another from a lifestyle perspective have long been a successful recipe for many brands, as also noted earlier this year at the SXSW festival, in a discussion between SoulCycle, Madewell and Milk Bar.

Increasingly, however, legacy brands and retailers are deploying a collaborative approach to target a younger consumer who thinks beyond seasons, and shops and discovers brands in a much less linear fashion. Many would argue that collaborations with younger, more cult brands are also a shortcut into getting the consumer to think differently about a more established player, as recently seen by the announcement of Ralph Lauren’s first collaboration with British skatewear label Palace.

How are you thinking about brand collaborations? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Retail

Ba&sh’s new NY store offers free clothing rentals

Ba&sh in New York City

French label Ba&sh’s new store in New York allows shoppers to borrow the brand’s clothes at no cost, as long as they are returned after the weekend.

The 1,700-square-foot space, located in Soho, aims to act as a “dream closet” and position the brand as a friend the customer can borrow clothes from whenever they have a special event. Customers borrowing clothes can only do so every Friday between 5-7pm, and they must be returned by Monday at 7pm.

The opening is part of a bigger expansion strategy from the company in the North American market, as well as a customer engagement push that includes a series of permanent in-store activities.

“It’s an experiential store, the first one designed to thoughtfully elevate the existing experience to a new level. The store was a natural evolution. Our brand has always been rooted in special relationships,” said global CEO, Pierre-Arnaud Grenade, to WWD.

The brand, which currently operates 200 stores globally but only five in the US, hopes the new space also works for customer awareness and acquisition – by making clothes available to rent free of charge, it allows customers to discover the brand more easily. For this launch, a pop-up area will promote other French brands who have no US presence, such as jewelry label Atelier Paulin and luxury candlemaker Baobab.

The space will also offer a series of events that encourage customers to bring a friend, such as monthly supper clubs, weekly French lessons (of which 75% of the cost is subsidized by the brand), weekly complimentary French breakfast and a children’s play area so customers can shop in peace.

As part of the strategy, the brand’s e-commerce team has also relocated to the city. Currently, 20% of the brand’s US sales are completed online, which is higher than the rest of the world.

The moves comes as consumers increasingly look to the notion of the sharing economy – borrowing or renting items rather than having ownership of them. It’s through this that businesses including Rent the Runway have grown in relevancy in today’s market. One  fifth of millennials reportedly now say they would consider renting clothing, according to Hammerson and Verdict.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Editor's pick Retail

Coach pop-up celebrates self-discovery with NY fairground experience

“Life Coach” pop-up

Coach’s newest pop-up, Life Coach, celebrates the label’s roots in New York City with a series of immersive experiences that aims to “heighten your senses, stimulate your soul and wake up all the feels”.

The activation, which is running from June 12 through to June 17 in the Soho neighbourhood in NYC, which is where the brand was founded in 1941, invites guests to participate in tarot card readings, drawing, and playing carnival games.

Visitors enter the space via a neon storefront filled with psychic symbols and Coach visuals. Upon first entering the space visitors are asked to check in, and when reaching the first room, they are met with an entirely blank canvas on which they are encouraged to draw on.

The next room represents a typical Coney Island-type of fairground scene, including old-fashioned arcade games and photo props, as well as a boardwalk made from pieces salvaged from Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy.

In the third and final room, visitors can walk through a dark forest where they can find white tents that house tarot card readers.

Speaking to the New York Times, Carlos Becil, Coach’s chief marketing officer, said of the concept: “Whether you call it mindfulness, spirituality or self-help, seeking answers is the new pop culture.”

Activities that help consumers through their self-discovery include free sessions with mystics including tarot card readers Hoodwitch and astrologists Astrotwins. The event, which has no Coach product in sight, will keep its concept of self-discovery and elusiveness by introducing surprise guests and events throughout its programming until the pop-up’s last day.

The entire initiative ties to a broader theme we’re seeing in consumer retail, whereby the experience economy is evolving into the transformation economy – a state that is about driving self improvement and enhancement for consumers through brand activities, rather than mere moments meant to encourage dwell time or social sharing.

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Campaigns Editor's pick Retail

Tiffany & Co. dips NYC in its iconic shade of blue with experiential campaign

Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co

To celebrate Paper Flowers, the first jewelry collection under new chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff, Tiffany & Co is color-dipping a variety of New York City icons in its well-recognized “robin’s-egg blue“.

For both fans and unsuspecting city dwellers, Krakoff hopes this campaign will offer a sense of “unexpected discovery and joy”.

Between May 1-4 passersby walking along Prince Street up to Seventh Avenue will be able to glimpse the paper flowers that have been hand-crafted by Tiffany’s creative team, or see one of the many yellow cabs now dipped in the iconic shade. While this takes care of spaces at street-level, Krakoff also made sure to lighten-up the commute for anyone travelling on the subway by immersing select staircases and MetroCards in the uplifting color.

Krakoff told Vogue that when creating the concept of the city-wide installation, he was inspired by what Audrey Hepburn’s character embodied in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “The juxtaposition of wearing a floor length gown and a tiara while holding a paper bag with coffee and a pastry,” he said. “The idea that luxury doesn’t have to be formal.”

To make it easier for anyone eager to seek out the colorful makeovers, Tiffany has provided a custom Google map that points to the precise locations.

Tiffany & Co
Tiffany & Co

This is not the first time the newly-appointed creative has made headlines with his innovative engagement strategy. In November 2017, Krakoff opened the very first Tiffany café, located on the fourth floor of its Fifth Avenue flagship. Dedicated entirely to the cult Tiffany blue as well, it enables customers to experience the brand in a whole new way; completely engrossing them in the Tiffany lifestyle.

With retail stores increasingly struggling to persuade shoppers to visit their stores, the experiential approach ensures that Tiffany is fully in control of the customer experience. By leveraging the iconic shade of blue that has been adorning the packaging and marketing materials from its inception, Tiffany ensures that customers will instantly draw the connection between the color and the unique heritage of its brand.

UPDATE: As part of the launch, the brand also debuted a short film starring its campaign spokesperson, actress Elle Fanning, to the soundtrack of a remixed version of ‘Moon River’. The short shows Fanning walking and dancing the streets of New York, paying homage to Audrey Hepburn’s famous scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s where the character sings the now iconic track.

The 2018 version receives a rap interlude by A$AP Ferg and sees Fanning donning a hoodie while showcasing Tiffany & Co. jewellery, a creative direction that is undoubtedly aiming to give the brand a fresher look while presenting it to a younger audience. The remixed track can now also be found separately in Spotify.

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product Retail

Justin Timberlake pop-up cements the mass appeal of hipster tour merch

Justin Timberlake and Heston Preston at the pop-up
Justin Timberlake and Heston Preston at the pop-up

To promote the launch of his fifth album titled “Man of the Woods”, pop singer Justin Timberlake has hosted a NYC pop-up offering products developed through several brand collaborations.

Inside the Wooster St, Soho space, visitors encountered a hipster and nostalgically American aesthetic, similar to Timberlake’s personal style reinvention. Walls were framed with branches, while burgundy rugs and comfortable chairs lined the space. Products were then displayed against a white wall on hooks, plinths and shelves, accompanied by museum-like plaques.

Customers could only order items on display by filling out a paper form, thus giving the shopping experience a more exclusive touch.

Available to buy were one item per song in the album, which included: a Lucchese workman’s boot inspired by “Young Man”, a letter to the singer’s son; a Levi’s flannel jacket inspired by “Montana”; a Moleskine notepad inspired by “Say Something”; and a Pendleton blanket inspired by “Morning Light”.

Also on display was a Nike Air Jordan 3s collaboration with legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, inspired by the fifth track, “Higher, Higher”. The shoe was first available for purchase on Nike’s SNKRS app during Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII half-time show on February 4, and it will go back on sale once the singer’s tour commences.

Adding to the momentum, the singer also worked with Heston Preston, a designer who consulted on early seasons of Kanye West’s Yeezy and has worked with the likes of Nike and Nasa, to design the tour’s apparel (such as t-shirts and hoodies).

Over the last couple of years, artists such as Jay Z, Frank Ocean and Justin Bieber have leveraged hype beast culture to stimulate similar buzz with temporary retail environments promoting their upcoming tours or album releases. Launched in 2016, Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” album pop-ups across multiple cities elevated the artist’s merchandise to cult-like status, and ignited a much-needed refresh of artist merchandise.

Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” pop-up