Big companies are no longer afraid to take their brands right to consumers, bypassing traditional distribution channels. While it's pretty rare for big beauty companies to launch brands direct-to-consumer, Henkel is doubling down on its D2C strategy. In the summer of 2020, Henkel signed a deal with Berlin-based Invincible Brands Holding to acquire a 75% stake in a business comprised of three fast-growing DTC brands: HelloBody, Banana Beauty, and Mermaid + Me. Zotos Professional business also launched Better Natured, a prestige brand with naturally derived formulations that are stylist developed and tested to deliver professional-level performance direct to consumers.
Now Henkel has opened its first D2C concept store, the House of Schwarzkopf in Berlin. The company's Beauty Care business unit, its digital unit Henkel dx, and the agency Solidsense GmbH created an interactive retail space and hair salon with new digital applications for a unique personalized customer experience. These worlds combine Schwarzkopf's rich brand heritage and Henkel dx digital expertise, resulting in a space that embodies inspiration and craftsmanship while delivering personalized products, services, and experiences.
"The House of Schwarzkopf is not only the new home of the most iconic hair care brand of our time but also creates a bridge from the past to the future—located in the heart of Berlin where Hans Schwarzkopf laid the foundation stone, its new home now combines more than 120 years of expertise in hair with state-of-the-art technology, creating a place where the brand and its values, promises, products and history are not only represented but can be truly experienced," says Rik Strubel, Chief Marketing Officer Henkel Beauty Care.
The location offers a broad range of professional haircare products, limited editions, as well as a new flagship brand, exclusively available in the House of Schwarzkopf. Personalization and augmented reality are seamlessly integrated though out the customer experience.
"With the House of Schwarzkopf, we want to establish Schwarzkopf as a consumer-centric player by creating a platform that invites consumers to experience Beauty Care products and applications in a completely new and digital way. With the 'Make-over-Mirror,' for example, our first-ever completely inhouse developed Augmented Reality application that is assisted by an Artificial Intelligence, we are leveraging one of the major trends we are currently seeing—the shift towards more personalization and the wish of consumers to try products before buying them," says Michael Nilles, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Henkel.
The Make-over-Mirror enables consumers to test hair color via state-of-the-art Augmented Reality in an interactive way. New styles and colors are available at the consumer's fingertip and support the consumer's purchase decision.
"We are delighted to inspire our clients with a unique experience featuring product innovations, digital technologies and best-in-class hairdressing services by the internationally renowned hair stylist Hauke Schmidt who is managing the new salon. We trust him and his team to provide a professional hairdressing experience to the clients of the House of Schwarzkopf—his salon concept fully reflects Schwarzkopf's aim to support hairdressers in offering a professional and unique hairdressing experience that brings the craftmanship and the salon of the future to life," says Stuart Hamid, General Manager Henkel Beauty Care Professional Germany, Austria & Switzerland.
In the House of Schwarzkopf consumers can also experience the innovative Schwarzkopf Professional's SalonLab Smart Analyzer. This technology provides scientific hair diagnosis that complements hairdressers’ expertise to enable best-in-class and truly personalized color and care consultation. SalonLab was developed under the guidance of Henkel Beauty Care's scientists and hair specialists and is evolving further through close collaboration with Henkel's digital unit Henkel dx, infusing more than 120 years of hair expertise, research, and consumer insights into the proprietary algorithms.
The personalized experience and various interaction formats of the House of Schwarzkopf are powered by RAQN, Henkel's consumer and customer digital business platform, and its Consumer & Customer (CQ) Intelligence engine. RAQN also powers the launch of the virtual House of Schwarzkopf, which accompanies the opening of the concept store.
Here, visitors can virtually explore the House of Schwarzkopf interaction points, register for exclusive House of Schwarzkopf events, and access treatment booking for the in-house hair salon. The virtual House of Schwarzkopf is also home to the online shop where customers can find the Schwarzkopf flagship brand, limited editions, and special heritage products.
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