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Brands Making Their Brick and Mortar Mark

Published September 19, 2023
Published September 19, 2023
Joanna Czech

In an increasingly competitive landscape where brands and retailers work at a fever pitch to capture their piece of consumer attention, the bar has never been higher to make an impression.

Retail and service concepts have undergone a metamorphosis, doubling down on their competitive edge—human connection IRL.

For brands, once their products are on the shelves is when the real work begins. As omnichannel becomes omnipresent, offline touchpoints have become more sophisticated, and creating memorable shopping experiences is an integral part of driving sell-through.

These activations come in many forms, and our judges used the concept description to evaluate the creativity, execution, and effectiveness of the submissions.

The Judges:

Best Retail Activation: Recognizes unique training, visual merchandising, activations, events, or activities carried out by brands to support brick-and-mortar retail partners.

ClearForMe at the Allure Store. The beauty retailer wanted to amplify its phygital approach and integrate ClearForMe's Clickable Ingredients into the shopping experience in November 2022. ClearForMe used machine learning to ingest product SKU lists from Allure’s Product Information Management systems and parse through thousands of ingredient lists, recognizing all synonyms, variations, and label nuances connecting each ingredient to its 2 million+ profiles. The output was a standardized definition for each ingredient and educational content the Allure Store displayed online and in-store.

Using one of the 32 iPads in-store (or simply via QR codes directly on their phone), shoppers navigated to desired products, and ClearForMe’s Clickable Ingredients helped consumers make informed decisions as they explored, learned, and discovered products.

ClearForMe hosted an intimate in-person panel discussion at the Allure Store on the rise of next-generation brands and their insights to create industry transformation. Attendees included media, influential skincare experts, beauty enthusiasts, and Allure Store customers.

Fable & Mane MahaMane Smooth & Shine Campaign. When it launched with Sephora in 2020, it was the first Ayurvedic haircare brand to launch at Sephora and introduced its first global marketing campaign this year. The MahaMane Smooth & Shine Campaign featured the casting of South Asian models of diverse skin tones, hair textures, and colors, including the co-founders' mother, Chetna Mehta, who remains a global face for the brand.

The brand has activated the campaign with several experiential in-store experiences to share the Indian ritual of hair oiling and head massage with a wider consumer base. The brand has brought the pop-up experiences to Sephora, Selfridges, and Nykaa.

The brand executed a full-store immersive takeover of Sephora in the Dubai Mall to launch MahaMane, Fable & Mane's first post-wash styling range leveraging the global campaign.The inspiration behind the retail concept was a cosmic mirage over the rolling dunes of the Middle East with playful taglines like "Let the World Hear Your Roar" and backdrops of the brand "mascot"—the tiger. 

As a modern hair wellness brand, rooted in ancient Indian traditions, the brand focuses on experiential and education, inviting consumers, press, influencers, and Sephora beauty advisors to experience the world of Ayurveda through Fable & Mane haircare and wellness experiences. To coincide with the in-store retail activation, Fable & Mane implemented a thorough 360-strategy with core focus on digital support, beauty advisor trainings, exclusive consumer-centric founder masterclasses, and strategic sampling.

SaSa Exclusive Launch of Rexaline in Hong Kong. A product gap study informed the addition of dermatologist brands into  SaSa with Rexaline being the first to launch. The French brand is known for its medical-grade hyaluronic acid clinical skincare using the Double HA RX patent and pushing the limits of performance for every skin concern.

SaSa developed an online-merge-offline (OMO) strategy to introduce the brand to local consumers, resulting in internal and external communication and efficiency and achieving a +175% sales to target in the first launching month and continued strong sales momentum in the following months.

Adapting to the new retail landscape, SaSa removed the traditional retail silos of treating brick and mortar sales and online business as two separate sales channels. Interactive technology was integrated into retail stores, directing customers from retail spaces to online using QR codes on displays next to pricing, enabling the customer and frontline sales associates to access product information easily. The technology also had the halo effect of addressing retail staffing shortages post-pandemic.

With the OMO strategy, SaSa introduced a new form of shopping experience for their customers who can directly embark on the discovery journey from various touchpoints allowing SaSa to engage them at a much earlier stage of consumers' path to purchase. It also provided a paradigm shift in company culture, shedding the vestiges of traditional retail and transforming SaSa to an omnichannel retail operation.

Best Service Provider: Recognizes a stand-alone or chain concept providing beauty and/or wellness services and/or treatments.

For over 40 years Biologique Recherche’s unique methodology has built a reputation based on a clinical approach to skincare, delivering immediate and long-lasting results. The brand recently opened a Los Angeles flagship purpose-built for the brand's treatment protocols where technical facilities are embedded in a cozy elegance, delivering the ultimate holistic beauty experience.

The Biologique Recherche experience is built on a unique three-stage methodology that hyperpersonalizes each treatment based on individual skin needs. The Assessment Stage is Stage 1 in the methodology, which uses the proprietary diagnostic Skin Instant Lab tool to analyze and determine a person’s Skin Instant, which is the skin condition at the time of assessment. The VisioLab tool takes a high-resolution photograph and offers a more finely tuned analysis. Stage 2 is the Initialization Stage, and it begins with individualized preparation of the epidermis. The final Treatment Stage uses hypercustomized products to “recondition” the epidermis.

The two-story Maison on Melrose Place offers six treatment rooms, a VIP suite with private entrance, a diagnostic room equipped with the Skin Instant Lab, the VisioLab and My Beauty DNA tools, a hair salon for scalp treatments, and retail space where customers can purchase the full range of Biologique Recherche products.

In December 2022, Joanna Czech opened her 2,200-square-foot flagship studio in New York. Czech, moved to New York 34 years ago, and this location was a dream made reality because New York has always felt like home. The studio includes a luxury retail space, three treatment rooms, and an office. Czech's strong sense of personal style is brought to life with the help of interior designer, Jeang Kim. Prior to this location, Czech was based out of The Webster, 60 SoHo Hotel, and Paul Labreque in NYC.

Joanna Czech provides customized luxury facial and body treatments at her New York and Dallas studios that utilize LED, ultrasound, microcurrent, cryotherapy, and her infamous deep tissue massage, which sculpts the facial muscles. The service concept is grounded in education and a passion for helping clients with their skincare needs and concerns and informing them along the way.

Glowbar has revolutionized the spa industry with a new no-frills skincare concept consisting of 30-minute customized solution-oriented facial treatments priced at $65. Glowbar has reinvented the facial experience, with its quick, effective, and approachable treatments and an aesthetically designed algorithm that eliminates consumer anxiety, overwhelming treatment menus, and the need for expensive add-ons.

As a third-generation esthetician whose grandmother founded the first fully-accredited esthetics institute in the US, founder Rachel Liverman saw a white space in the beauty and skincare industry. Through their membership program ($55/month) and standalone appointments ($65), Glowbar is working to make skincare inclusive to everyone and as attainable as we expect other traditional health services to be. The experience includes an esthetician-led survey to better understand a client’s needs and to determine a treatment plan, which can include dermaplaning, chemical peels, extractions, LED, microcurrent, or high frequency.

Glowbar plans to open four new locations by the end of 2023, with one already open as of June in Cobble Hill and is seeing a 70% growth in memberships in the last year.

Best Pop Up: Recognizes unique concepts from design through execution for a short-term beauty or wellness pop-up retail concept.

Conscious Beauty Collective Traveling Pop Up. The current beauty retail landscape makes it increasingly difficult for indie brands to break through and land meaningful representation on shelves. 

A group of 30+ indie beauty and wellness brands have joined forces taking things into their own hands. The core concept is a 

 traveling pop-up store used as an activation point for marketing activities. Lynn Power, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Masami conceived it as a way to extend successful brand partnerships and connect with like-minded founders.

The Conscious Collective launched its first pop up in April 2022 with Brookfield Properties at Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. After a successful "proof of concept" they moved to Natick Mall outside of Boston in the fall of 2022 and Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga from April to June of 2023. The partnership with Brookfield allows the group to move the concept across the US to e-customer acquisition, generate local press, and engage local influencers. On average, each pop up generates over 3,000 consumer leads.

The K18 Magic Science Bus Pop Up. Known for storytelling, education, and an always-on social media strategy, the pop up was used to activate the launch of its Molecular Repair Hair Oil using a virtual reality (VR) education experience in real life at the Grove in Los Angeles over Mother's Day weekend, touching over 5,000 people. 

The pop up design was a nostalgic nod to the magic school bus show with a futuristic K18 twist that included educational and interactive moments, product displays, and an Oculus VR station to take visitors through the world of haircare and hair science.

Pre-launch marketing and a VIP influencer preview enticed consumers to come out with the chance to recreate throw-back classrom pics, sweet treats, free swag, product samples, and exclusive merch. Peppi the Maskot made an appearance, handing our samples, playfully cajoling consumers into Sephora, and adding to the virality of the popup.

The VR experience can still be accessed on the brand's website. or with an Oculus device showcases a main “room” featuring hairstylists discussing the K18 technology and another room dedicated to “edutainment” on the hair oil.

Malin+Goetz Pop-Up Apothecary in the Historical Quadrant Arcade at 80 Regent Street, London.  Opened in November of 2022, the architectural design spans two floors, featuring a permanent retail shop on the ground floor and an experiential space on the first floor. Created for marketing amplification, the first floor is used for rotating concepts that align with the brand's marketing calendar, translating campaigns into immersive experiences. Despite being a pop up, the store has quickly become one of the highest revenue-driving sites for Malin+Goetz in the UK, and isranked #2 and representing 19% mix of business of the brand’s brick-and-mortar shops in the UK.

The Apartment (December 2022–January 2023), offered an immersive look into a New York City-style apartment. The space featured different rooms where customers received complimentary treatments and experienced the brand’s NYC lifestyle in the heart of London.

The Rum Room (February–March 2023), designed in collaboration with East London Liquor, the space was transformed with Pantone's color Dark Rum, creating a backdrop for the interpretation of Malin+Goetz's signature scent: dark rum. Guests were treated to an exploration of the senses: smell, visual, and taste.

The Brands Icon Room (April 2023) celebrated the lifestyle and iconic products of the brand, offering an experiential space for customers to immerse themselves into Malin+Goetz (both literally and figuratively). Featuring factices of the brand’s iconic products, customers were able to journey through product categories, test, play, and take pictures "within" the products.

The Holiday Shop (May 2023) served as a pop-up travel destination, offering a one-stop shop for customers to buy all their summer holiday needs. Edited by the London Influence, this concept hosted a selection of independent/up-and-coming fashion designers, providing a key commercial destination to display their designs.

Winners will be announced on October 26, 2023, at the BeautyMatter NEXT Summit: The Future of Beauty in Los Angeles, CA. Find out more here.


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