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Allure's brick & mortar beauty store

From the Spreads to SoHo: Allure Magazine Debuts First Brick & Mortar Beauty Store in NYC

Allure brings its beauty know-how to Lafayette St. in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, attracting beauty savvy consumers with a suite of technology-based experiences.

The Allure Beauty Store showcases a curated collection of over 270 products, merchandised according to editorial headlines rather than traditional brand or category organization.  The store is anchored by Allure’s beauty award winning products, a coveted designation beauty giants such as Sephora promote heavily on their own platforms.  The store invites the customer to become the beauty influencer, enabling them to film tutorials and take selfies on smart mirrors installed throughout the store and browse offerings on iPads.  While Allure is predominantly known as a beauty and lifestyle magazine powerhouse, the brand’s foray into retailing follows a trend we’re watching among other media behemoths like Facebook, TikTok, and Netflix that are increasingly blurring the line between media audiences and commerce.

Read on to hear our take on Allure’s first brick-and-mortar store, what’s changing in the pandemic-disrupted beauty industry, and what we expect from Allure and other players looking to forge deeper connections with their audiences through immersive shopping experiences.

The Allure Store Embodies the Magazine Giant’s Brand Tone and Beauty Authority

When you walk into Allure’s glossy, pink, and mirror-clad store, you won’t find products organized strictly by brand or product category. Breaking with the traditional approach, Allure merchandises products according to playful editorial headlines, paying homage to the store’s magazine roots.  The headlines vary in scope, ranging from ’16 budget friendly Radiance-Boosting Products that are gentle enough for sensitive skin’ to ‘Every product we were obsessed with in 2021’.  All the products displayed in the store were featured directly in print or on Allure’s website, reinforcing the store environment as a physical embodiment of the magazine’s reputation for relevant content and best-in-class product recommendations.

Products range from crowd favorites like Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask, to lesser-known product lines such as Better Natured clean hair products.  Regardless of product notoriety, every product has a QR code attached giving customers the option to explore the full brand collection, and access more specific product information.  The most prominent store display features Allure Beauty Award Winners, showcasing products across categories that have garnered Allure’s sought-after beauty award.  The Award has even attracted attention from best-in-class beauty retailer Sephora, as they display the stamp of approval on their own product offerings with a dedicated landing page on their website. Allure has also taken the 15% pledge and is working to get 15% of the brands carried in-store representing Black-owned businesses.

Allure Beauty Store digital experience

Social and Tech-enabled Shopping Experience

The store is anchored in digital experiences, where the customer is invited to play the part of the beauty guru. Smart mirrors scattered throughout the store enable customers to film their own beauty tutorial, take a selfie, as well as leave a review and browse the store layout. Customers can also experiment with virtual product try-ons using augmented reality technology and view different departments and collections virtually using iPads available on merchandise tables.  The store provides a playground ripe for the beauty influencer to publish engaging content promoting the Allure brand.

Allure Beauty Store product range

Beauty is a Growth Category with Rebounding Spend

Allure’s entrance into brick & mortar retail is coming at an opportune time, as beauty spend is returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to L’Oreal.  The beauty industry had to adapt quickly during the pandemic, as there was much concern over disease transmission through the high contact nature of the traditional sampling format of stores.  Beauty brands indeed pivoted, prioritizing skin care offerings and at-home treatments in lieu of color cosmetics and leveraged technology to offer low-contact, virtual try-on and consultation options for beauty products.  Innovations in beauty are bicoastal, as other beauty retailers we’ve covered in the greater Los Angeles area, are shaping experiential retail through innovations in augmented reality and digital content creation.

Are Stores a Good Bet for Allure?

The Allure Beauty store offers customers a physical touchpoint to engage with the brand and represents Allure’s latest tactic to grow beyond its magazine identity and diversify its revenue streams – it currently operates two podcasts and a beauty subscription box alongside the magazine platform. Allure is proving to be an innovator in the beauty space, leveraging their audience of beauty savvy enthusiasts and their expertise in editorial and social media to lean into beauty commerce.  With this new concept store, the retailer provides a refreshing approach to beauty, not only through their innovative merchandising techniques, but also by creating an in-person beauty experience that offers robust digital experiences and customer empowerment through accessible product information and emphasis on social media engagement.

Allure Beauty Store curated assortment

The Beauty store could be particularly powerful for Allure, as it provides a setting where Allure is the authority on beauty through its carefully curated product assortment, but the customer has the power to be the “influencer” through store-based experiences.  Allure isn’t the only media player with commerce expansion on the agenda: industry giants such as Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all making retail investments, emphasizing the cross-category importance of diversifying revenue streams and building a brand beyond a subscription-based or ad-supported platform. With an already loyal reader base, Allure can grow their cult following and solidify their position as the authority on beauty as they extend into in-person retail.

To learn more about our work in retail strategy and digital transformation, simply contact us.  And if you enjoyed this post, consider following our Instagram account, where we frequently publish immersive posts and reels covering inspiring new retail concepts.

Reagan Jacobs

rjacobs@mdretail.com

Reagan provides research, planning and analysis support for McMillanDoolittle retail consulting projects. She supports company and client projects through consumer research planning, merchandise and operations analysis, financial modeling and graphic design work.

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