As first reported Wednesday, Feb. 25 by DrugStoreNews.com, L'Oreal Paris' sudden and unexpected decision to close its two U.S. retail stores effective Saturday is important, as it not only serves as a reflection of the current times but also means that retailers will likely see greater in-store innovation as L'Oreal further leverages what it learned from these "Living Labs" to enhance the in-store shopping experience at mass.
In 2004 and 2005, when the beauty giant opened the two retail locations it was not to become a retailer but to use the venues as a way to become more savvy and knowledgeable in the area of merchandising. More importantly, the stores enabled the beauty company to work even closer with its retail partners as it could share its learnings with retailers and help improve the beauty departments at mass.
As reported in the article, L'Oreal stated that it is now "exploring new, alternative venues to reach consumers," and some of that is already taking place.
One example is the new L'Oreal store-within-a-store concept at the recently opened flagship Walgreens store in the heart of Times Square. Imported from Europe, the L'Oreal fixturing is illuminated and has clear shelving to help not only highlight the products but to also give the department an undeniable upscale look and feel. The L'Oreal skin care lines, such as Age Perfect and Advanced Revitalift, are merchandised vertically to make it easier to shop, and the images of spokesmodels, like Andie MacDowell and Diane Keaton, help shoppers select the age-appropriate products and beatify their skin at any age.
Shelving housing L'Oreal makeup can be pulled out and they feature testers to encourage beauty mavens to experiment‹yet another feature unique to the drug store beauty scene. In addition, L'Oreal is striving to help beauty shoppers online through its "Can I Help You?" section at www.lorealparis.com. This online personalized beauty consultation can help consumers find the hair color shades, skin care products, cosmetics and hair care solutions that will best meet their personal needs.
These are just a few examples of the work being done within L'Oreal and it is likely that, going forward, beauty shoppers will see even more innovation and an enhanced shopping experience at mass as L'Oreal continues its exploration.