As detailed in PSFK's New York Retail Innovation Guide, top beauty brands like Covergirl and Glossier are catering to the needs of today's consumers with engaging and digitally-integrated store experiences that enable IRL product discovery, personalized education and seamless purchasing

Despite developments in technology and changes in consumer purchasing behavior in an age of online shopping, what endures within beauty retail in particular is the consumer need to trial skincare and makeup products. Ensuring that colors will match, textures will be right and products will actually work is crucial within this space, and can pose challenge in a world dominated by ecommerce, where beauty retailers are required to have an online presence but can fall short of meeting consumers' needs, especially in phases like product discovery.

While some retailers are experimenting with virtual and remote testing capabilities through technology like augmented reality to combat these pain points along the path to purchase, what PSFK has noticed is beauty retailers investing in their physical store experiences, creating experimental playgrounds where consumers can try out products in social, share-able and memorable ways. As detailed in PSFK's New York Retail Innovation Guide, here's how three top names in beauty and personal care are catering to the phygital consumer's desire to play in-store and buy online with interactive and digitally-integrated experiences that enable proper product discovery, personalized education and seamless purchasing.

Digitally native cosmetics brand Glossier’s two-story flagship is designed to be Instagram-friendly, encouraging social media shares from shoppers. It offers the full line of Glossier products, which shoppers can try out in experiential testing rooms. Featuring a dramatic red staircase, millennial pink-hued upholstery and communal tables topped with products for visitors to try, the retailer intends for the location to function as a playground, immersing shoppers in a rosy-hued world where the staff even wear bubblegum pink uniforms.

Walgreens x Birchbox
Pharmacy store chain Walgreens is partnering with Birchbox, the monthly beauty box subscription company, to turn the beauty aisles of select Walgreens and Duane Reade locations into a Birchbox-branded experience where women can sample and shop Birchbox-approved products. Customers can also interact with Walgreens beauty consultants trained by Birchbox to give expert advice.

CoverGirl’s first standalone retail store has opened in Times Square, where shoppers can immerse themselves in an experiential playground with tech-enabled experiences that include a virtual greeter and AR glam stations. The store is designed to be a sharable beauty experience where shoppers can discover and test out beauty products.

Upping their edge in a choosy New York market as well as creating flagship destinations for visitors to enjoy, beauty brands are focusing their efforts on building IRL counterparts to their online presence, ultimately helping consumers test out products in entertaining and engaging ways. For more about what the top New York retailers from all industries are doing to stay on the cutting edge of next-gen retail experiences, see PSFK's New York Retail Innovation Guide, available for download now.