Beauty retailer L'Occitane en Provence on Thursday will debut the redesign of its Canadian Flagship boutique in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre with an immersive digital experience and connected shopping model in mind, according to a company press release.
The 1600-square-foot boutique was designed by creative agency School House, and is the second such re-design of a L’Occitane store following the earlier revamp of the brand’s New York City store. In the Toronto location, a 22-foot-high glass façade hosts a six-foot high curved video wall.
Later this month, L'Occitane is also planning to open two more stores in iconic locations — Regent Street in London and 86 Champs (Champs Elysée) in Paris. The Regent Street location will be the largest L'Occitane store in the world, covering 6,450 square feet, and will feature a 'test and play' experience. The concept-driven 86 Champs store is working with pastry chef Pierre Hermé to create a retail location that is both a beauty destination and a sweet spot.
While it may seem that in-store technology has evolved into nothing more than not-too-creepy robots and store associates armed with mobile devices, there's much more to it than that. L’Occitane is taking the "multi-sensory experience" concept seriously as it seeks to design new stores with customer experience as a primary driver — a smart move that many beauty retailers are making these days.
In describing the in-store appeal in a statement, Paul Blackburn, North American vice president of Concept Design, Construction & Merchandising, said it aims to instill a "sense of wonderment" in shoppers by evoking the elements. The store's natural stone flooring and botanical ceiling nod to earth; rain shower sinks represent water; "radiating sun installation sets" symbolize fire; and "fragrance clouds" embody air. Other new store features include an "interactive skincare bistro" and "hand cream column wrapped in communal seating."
L'Occitane Yorkdale also has a sustainability focus. The store's lighting is 100% LED. It will be the company's first North American store to feature an in-store bottle recycling program in partnership with Terracycle.
In its own way, L'Occitane is trying to do the same thing Apple has been doing with its own retail store re-design. Both companies are reinforcing the idea of their stores as community gathering spots where the customer experience is visceral (or multi-sensory in L'Occitane's case) and at the same time extremely comfortable, where products, in some sense, are presented to be tried and experienced by customers above all else. If you focus on customer experience, the thinking goes, the sale will follow.