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Beauty Brands Breaking the Retail Mould

Digital disruption and the rise in eCommerce have brought huge changes to retail and the beauty industry. Beauty brands are continuing to invest in their retail environments, creating impactful brand experiences and becoming some of the leaders in physical retail.


In the UK a survey by Opinium Retail Tracker 50% of British Consumers want to buy their beauty/grooming products in-store.  While in the US, the preference is even stronger, with 90% of Gen Z, a group of consumers who are primarily online shoppers, prefer to shop for beauty in-store. With such a strong market, brands are developing new concepts for their stores and truly breaking the retail mould.

Creating Experiences

Digitally native beauty brand, Glossier became a game-changer in the industry and developed a cult following. When they developed their first pop-up locations in Boston and LA, they had lines of eager customers waiting hours to experience their products in real life. The stores became the definition of when Instagram meets the real world, with Glossier pink splashed everywhere. Glossier understood what customers wanted to experience and brought it to life. As they began online, they understood the importance of developing a seamless omnichannel approach, including tablet POS systems throughout to enable ordering from the inhouse stock room, with collection points to pick up on your way out. Due to the huge success, they have now invested in permanent stores in London, Seattle, and LA, all of which have been designed with the local community in mind.

Glossier store, LA.

Beauty Wonderlands

Luxury beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury have invested heavily in their stores, to create a beauty wonderland for their customers or “Darlings” as Charlotte calls them. Designed with deep burgundy and gold throughout it is a reflection of the brand’s glamourous image. Shoppers flock to physical retail to be able to trial and test products, and Charlotte Tilbury have designed their stores to make this as interactive as possible. Stores have “Magic Mirrors” that turn into cameras when you stand in front of it, and can virtually transform your make-up into some of the brand’s iconic looks. While digital screens offer behind the scenes tips and tutorials with make-up artists, all increasing dwell time and additional purchasing instore. The brand’s stores have been so popular they have recreated them to also allow an interactive shopping experience on their e-commerce platform.

Charlotte Tilbury, London Store.

Standing Alone

Iconic department store Harrod’s have successfully launched three standalone H beauty stores in the UK in 2021, with more in development, as part of their mission to take the Harrods beauty experience outside of London. Described as a beauty lovers’ playground, Harrods has developed a new retail concept in the beauty world, with each store being developed with the local beauty community in mind, and support local beauty brands within their ‘Born and Bred’ areas.

Bringing the magic of the Harrods brand to life, stores include a Champagne bar, a picture-perfect spot to meet with friends. Skincare clinics and nail bars are also included as the brand focus on in-store experiences, while immersive play-tables are scattered through the store to allow shoppers to try out the brands on offer, and all within a well thought-out ‘Instagramable’ setting, including a bright pink Harrods teddy bear at the entrance.

H Beauty, Milton Keynes.

It is clear to see customers are happy to go to store, to try before they buy when it comes to beauty. To create future-proof stores, retailers need to consider their spaces to ensure they are filled with in-house experiences that capture the brand, connect with shoppers, and bring them the excitement they wish for.
If you would like to discuss how Grant can help develop your brand experience reach out to our team.


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