L'Occitane Is Wowing Customers with Its New Concept Store

brought to you by WBR Insights

Modern consumers expect more than just products from brick and mortar stores. Thanks to the discounted prices and convenience of the ecommerce market, shopping is no longer about what people need, but rather the experience of shopping itself.

This means brick and mortar retailers need to come up with ways to offer unique services and experiences to tempt consumers through their doors and encourage them to spend money there instead of going home and ordering it online later. This is especially true in the fashion and beauty industries as the phenomenon known as "showrooming" has led to customers trying out products in store before purchasing on Amazon et al.

French beauty brand L'Occitane believes it has the solution with its brand new experiential concept store.

New York

The new 1,870-sq-ft L'Occitane en Provence concept store is located on New York City's prestigious and influential Fifth Avenue. The store, named "555", has a mission of attracting new customers to the brand, boosting engagement, and encouraging the creation of user-generated social media content through its innovative experiences.

(Image source: retail-focus.co.uk)

"555 Fifth Avenue is an immersive destination unlike any other, filled with endless discoveries of the spirit and beauty of Provence," said L'Occitane's Vice President of Concept design, Construction, and Merchandising for North America, Paul Blackburn. "From eye-catching art form installations to integrated lifestyle products and enhanced fulfillment services, the ambiance and atmosphere will change throughout the life of the store with the goal to captivate the consumer's attention, encourage engagement, and produce user-generated content for social media buzz."

The experiences take the form of several customer touchpoints which allow customers to interact with the brand in exciting and innovative ways. They can use virtual reality technology to be whisked away to Provence, France on a hot air balloon ride to see the lavender fields from which many of L'Occitane's enticing fragrances are inspired. What's more, further interactive and haptic elements help augment the experience, such as receiving a relaxing hand massage while on the ride.

A bank of quaint bicycles allows customers to pose in front of a large screen depicting a beautiful provincial French village scene. Customers are encouraged to take pictures of the scene and share it to their social media accounts - complete with appropriate hashtags, of course - helping generate further social media buzz and promotion for the store.


L'Occitane has also created several unique ways for customers to experience its products - following the strong nature theme which runs through the store's decor.

For example, there is a rain-shower sink which allows customers to test and play with L'Occitane products beneath a shower of water from an illuminated canopy above their heads, which fits in with a design ethos that includes trees, plants, flowers, and the other natural decorations that fill the store. Customers can also enjoy an interactive skincare consultation area packed with the latest in beauty technology as well as an enhanced fulfillment services counter.

"Customers will be able to explore the L'Occitane brand history and signature products through ever-changing and immersive installations that echo the Provencal art de vivre and rich storytelling moments. Each customer's experience is intended to be unique and we are excited to launch this interactive boutique," said L'Occitane's Regional Chief Marketing and Ecommerce Officer for North America, Christina Polychroni. "From refreshing treats and hydration stations to a photo-ready bike scene, guests are invited to cool down from the rising temperatures and enjoy a taste of Provence this summer."

At the counter, customers can try out brand new products ahead of their official release. What's more, L'Occitane is doing its bit for the planet, by allowing customers to bring in their empty, hard-to-recycle beauty product packaging. The packages are sent to TerraCycle for recycling, and the customer receives a 10 percent in-store discount as a reward for their efforts.

Final Thoughts

Next generation stores such as the 555 location from L'Occitane are paving the way for amazing new experiences for shoppers. It's this kind of innovative thinking that will give physical the best chance of fighting the showrooming phenomenon and making sure brick and mortar retailers stay relevant to consumers for many years to come.

"In today's digital world, customers rarely enter a L'Occitane store purely out of need - they expect to be pampered and entertained, and want to indulge in the experience," said L'Occitane in a statement.

Concept stores are set to be a hot topic at Future Stores Seattle 2019, taking place June 5 – 7.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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