L'Occitane En Provence on Wednesday will debut its New York City flagship. The store, located at 555 Fifth Ave., spans 1,870 square feet on the ground floor, 1,134 square feet on the mezzanine level and 374 square feet on the lower level, according to a press release from landlord ATCO Properties & Management.
The store will not only feature signature beauty items but also its experience-rich retail concept, which includes a live video feed of its U.S. Instagram account, stationary bikes against a view of Provence, a virtual 360-degree hot air balloon ride that can be "taken" while getting a (real) hand massage, according to a report from Glossy.
Last year, the brand debuted a similar, sensory-focused redesign at its Canadian flagship in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The French-infused retailer is pushing hard into the U.S., most recently sending a lavendar-scented truck nationwide to entice shoppers as it retools its American store fleet. But the company's new store concept is being introduced in several cities abroad as well.
The beauty retailer is facing plenty of competition along the way, as French retailer Sephora and lower-priced Ulta pave the way in a market that continues to enjoy robust sales. The retailer, which depends on the storied legacy of traditional Provencal scents and soaps but demands premium prices for its own iterations, is competing not just with those successful brick-and-mortar retailers but also renewed efforts in the space from the likes of Macy's and Target.
Merchandise is no longer enough. More than half (53%) of shoppers don't expect most brick-and-mortar retailers to deliver great customer experiences, according to a recent Salesforce study on the current state of retail experience. More than 60% of shoppers feel retailers don't understand their needs, yet 58% of shoppers place a high value on personalized in-store experiences, according to Salesforce's Ask Nicely team.
A study by the Fashion Institute of Technology found that millennials were more likely to purchase from retailers who focused on experience and community, and other studies have shown that Gen Z is following suit.
L'Occitane isn't the only beauty brand elevating its store experience. Sephora is in the midst of expanding its Studio concept, which features tech-enabled beauty discovery like the Virtual Artist tool as well as beauty classes, a concierge advice service and facials.