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Burberry opens dedicated beauty store to introduce new cosmetics

December 18, 2013


British fashion label Burberry has opened a new digitally enhanced retail location to showcase its recently launched beauty line.

The Burberry Beauty Box, located in London’s Covent Garden, carries Burberry’s beauty, fragrance and accessory lines, and offers consumers the ability to discover the brand’s cosmetics through both sales associate consultations and digital touchpoints, including mobile checkout. By creating a space specifically for its beauty line, Burberry is able to encourage consumer interaction with its beauty products, drive sales of the new line and test out new retail tactics.

"The idea behind Burberry’s Beauty Box is completely consistent with the omnichannel strategy that you are seeing across the retail industry," said Dave Rodgerson, a Toronto-based retail analyst and consultant.

"The concept is more than just having the capability to sell from either a traditional store or online," he said. "It combines the two in every sense: marketing, merchandising and operations, and allows the consumer to determine how and when they will interact with the brand.

"I’m especially pleased to see the brand moving towards a mobile checkout. It clearly represents that Burberry has decided to invest in the required technology."

Mr. Rodgerson is not affiliated with Burberry, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Burberry was unable to comment directly before press deadline.

Cosmetic connection

Burberry’s Beauty Box will sell the entire beauty and fragrance lines, as well as limited-edition cosmetics. Alongside the beauty products will be a select offering of accessories, including sunglasses, scarves and limited-edition bags that will be exclusive to the store.

Exterior of Burberry's Beauty Box

Burberry’s Beauty Box reinforces Burberry’s ties between its fashion and cosmetics lines. The brand gives consumers the opportunity to purchase makeup looks from its runway shows right after the presentation, and also creates lines of products to complement each fashion collection.

Burberry also recently launched its Burberry Brit fragrance for men, and designed a collection of apparel to coincide with the fragrance debut.

To encourage consumer interaction with the brand’s products, there are both digital and physical experiences for visitors of the Beauty Box.

Consumers can have a one-on-one fragrance consultation to help them discover the right scent for them. They can also see an associate for a manicure or makeup application and consultation.

One section of the first floor is dedicated to one-on-one appointments, where consumers can receive styling tips across all of the product lines offered in the store.

There is also a beauty box bar area that caters to gifting. Consumers can put together looks with the help of a beauty stylist, either working off one of Burberry’s signature looks or mixing and matching to their preference.

Burberry’s Beauty Box has integrated technology across the store.

Instead of a stationery point of sale, associates will ring up consumers’ purchases on iPhones and iPads, giving consumers the option of a digital receipt. This is the first retail location for Burberry that has an exclusively mobile checkout.

On the façade of the store is an installation of a screen in the shape of the Burberry check, showing content. Inside the store, a 16-foot digital chandelier plays different beauty content each month.

Interior of Burberry's Beauty Box

Users can virtually try on a nail polish by placing a bottle onto an radio-frequency identification or RFID-enabled platform. They then choose their skin tone, and the color appears on a hand onscreen.

"This is a natural extension of what Burberry has done in their flagship store in Piccadilly Circus, which opened roughly a year ago," said Doug Fleener, president of Dynamic Experiences Group, Boston.

"Burberry has merged the digital and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences better than any retailer in the world," he said. "Each digital element adds value and excitement to the customer's experience.

"In many stores digital is an afterthought. Burberry makes it an integral part of the experience.

"Burberry is exceeding the consumer's expectations, and is raising the bar for other luxury brands."

Forging ahead

Burberry has been recognized for its enhanced digital user interfaces.

More than one in five fashion brands upgraded their Web site in 2013, evincing an industry-wide push to catch up to digital trailblazers such as Burberry, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, according to L2 Think Tank’s latest digital index.

Improved navigation, enhanced image collateral, increased mobile-optimization and expanded ecommerce support are primary areas that brands targeted during Web site redesign. The index also emphasizes that Amazon’s heft and Apple’s imminent descent upon the luxury market calls for an even more aggressive pursuit of digital innovations in the next year.

Burberry retained its top spot due to a year crammed with digital innovations (see story).

Other fashion houses are giving their beauty lines their own space, whether digital or physical.

For instance, French fashion house Givenchy made its fragrances and beauty products more accessible to enthusiasts with a dedicated Web site that improves purchase options and navigation features.

Givenchy’s newly launched beauty Web site joins the brand’s dedicated Facebook page,which allows the brand to curate product specific content for particular enthusiasts. Creating a dedicated site for a range of products makes browsing and purchasing easier for the consumer and will increase the chances of a new fan stumbling across the collection (see story).

Burberry recognizes that its new retail spaces should be pushing previous digital touchpoint boundaries.

"Burberry is clearly looking to reach and engage a younger and more fashionable customer," Mr. Fleener said.

"Burberry has taken an iconic brand and made it fresh and hip," he said. "They're capturing that not only in their products and marketing, but in their store design and customer experience.

"Beauty and accessories are products that people want to try out, try on, touch, explore and sample. There could potentially be a plan to create a dedicated channel that will compete with other cosmetic and accessory brands.

"I think this store will be extremely well received, and customers will shop longer in the store because of the experience."

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York