L'Occitane en Provence is putting a lavender-scented spin on retail trucks, launching a cross-country trip from Washington, D.C. at the Cherry Blossom Festival April 7th to The Grove in Los Angeles in October, stopping at key places in North America in between, the company said on Monday. "L'Occi Truck" will also park at Beautycon at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City April 21–22.
The plan is to drive up to "buzz-worthy events and festivals," with "exclusive demonstration rituals" of the company's skincare, body care and fragrances. Where the French beauty retailer is closing some U.S. stores for renovation, the truck will arrive to help fill the gap, according to a company press release. The truck will also go to some areas where the company has no stores.
Inspired by a vintage French Citroën van once popular among French farmers, the 16-foot long, 7-foot high retro truck is clad in L'Occitane's signature Provençal sunshine yellow. A curated assortment is visible through a display along the truck's side, which also has a tester rail and foldable display counter. The company is using its website, including an interactive landing page, e-mail and social media to communicate with customers on scheduled stops and the truck's offerings.
Retail trucks have been around almost as long as food trucks, but their versatility as traveling pop-ups is helping them gain traction. After a debut in 2016 that kept its wheels rolling mostly in Seattle, Amazon last year expanded its own mobile retail pop-up to other cities nationwide.
As with food trucks, which allow entrepreneurs to get things rolling with less overhead, some small retailers have begun as trucks before expanding to permanent locations, as did The Mobile Vintage Shop in Brooklyn, NY, and Patterns and Pops in Denver, among others.
But more established chains like L'Occitane travel in the opposite direction, scaling down their operations from mall and downtown stores to more festive trucks, where they can test new products, marketing or technology without disrupting their more established locations. The retailer hopes the format will be more inviting and drive user-generated content on social media.
"Entering a boutique can often be intimidating to a consumer; this dynamic concept is truly more approachable while still an extension of the multi-sensory and hospitable customer experience from our boutiques," L'Occitane's Commercial Chief Officer for North America Caroline Le Roch said in a statement.