The issue of the end of the lockdown is at the heart of every discussions at the moment. Whether on the internet or in store, how brands are adapting to these new constraints? What initiatives are they using to lure and recreate a unique customer experience in a hectic context?
A RENEWED RETAIL
At Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, the welcoming conditions are adjusted: staggered working hours so that employees do not meet each other, reduced capacity in-store, masks must be worn, hydroalcoholic gel is available, fitting rooms are accessible and disinfected twice a day (handles are cleaned after each customer), not purchased clothes are steam-cleaned and then placed in isolation for several hours (twenty-four or even forty-eight). For cosmetics, testers are accessible thanks to an advisor and then disinfected.
Despite all of this, Le Bon Marché wishes to remain a place of dreams and escape, and reinforces it with its new exhibition “In Colors” starting from May 16th. The fun and bohemian event is accessible to everyone. On the program: an ode to craftsmanship, ultra-pigmented pieces with tie & dye prints, embroidery but also hand-painted patterns. The entire shop area hosts exclusive creations by Le Bon Marché’s partner brands. The exhibition will remain in shop but also at La Grande Épicerie de Paris until June 21st, which will cheer us up and help to enjoy a long-awaited breath of freedom…
In the United States too, department stores are adapting to this unprecedented situation. This is the case of the Saks chain, which should reopen on June 1st. After a complete renovation finished last year encouraging people to linger in the store (new beauty area, multiple services, restaurant l’Avenue on the top floor), it is now implementing a maximum-security protocol: clean-up operation, samples of disposable products for cosmetics, virtual make-up tools… The masks are mandatory for everyone, even, perceived as a fashion accessory by Saks’s CEO who compares them to phone covers now matching our outfits.
There are also many retail innovations such as:
- In-store appointment scheduling: at the time chosen, an advisor is waiting for you to guide you. This allows to regulate the number of customers in-store.
- On Zoom, style consultants are available for customers in their homes to show them clothes on the wearers and proceed to payment.
- Private shopping sessions are offered to loyalty program members. They make an appointment to come to the store one hour before (or after) the usual opening hours (already reduced by twenty percent) and shop safely, almost alone.
- Finally, returns are facilitated. The customer sends a text message to a salesperson in the store who comes to collect the product to be returned at the entrance or outside.
In physical stores, digital native brands (DNVBs) are also looking for ways to treat oneself while respecting security precaution. For example, Ysé, which reopened its doors on May 13th in France. The lingerie brand is limited to two people at a time in the shop and proposes to its customers to make an appointment to come in stores to try pieces they have reserved up to 36 hours in advance. The fitting room is then prepared and cleaned to welcome them in the best conditions. As for those who feel more comfortable trying on lingerie at home or don’t want to mix with the crowd in front of some boutiques, it is possible to order on the internet and have it delivered at home. Indeed, confinement has pushed brands to adapt. Many still offer shipping costs or facilitate home delivery.
Online shops are therefore popular, and allow, in case of crisis, to limit risks. With this in mind, H&M has decided to expand its presence in Europe in order to cope with the sales drop due to the forced closure of many of these stores. Thus, in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, the group launched new websites for brands: Cos, Weekday, Monki, & Others Stories and Arket. Customers were able to register and benefit from an early access and a welcome offer one day before the official launch which took place between 14th and 20th May depending on the country.
Another novelty, Laurence Bras. The house, until then, only available through its Parisian boutique opened on rue de Rivoli a few days before lockdown’s beginning, inaugurated its online shop on Thursday 30th April. It features flagship pieces from the spring-summer 2020 collection. For the moment, a simplified version is available, but it will be updated with exclusive pieces as the days go by.
Finally, for luxury enthusiasts, Alibaba has created a new platform: The Luxury Soho. Dedicated to new buyers in the world of luxury, it offers an adapted customer experience with a support service offering a wide range of advices. It differs from the Tmall Luxury Pavilion, another luxury platform signed Alibaba, which is dedicated to a wider audience. The Chinese group wanted to take advantage of the digital rise during the lockdown to strengthen its online presence by offering a reserved space for brands and young high-end designers.
The Luxury Soho – @wwd
WHAT ABOUT BEAUTY?
Just like in fashion, beauty brands are multiplying their services. Whether in stores or on internet, new features are appearing to facilitate makeup (and skincare) addicts’ shopping.
First of all, a phone service for an easy and safe shopping. After calling their favorite store, customers place their order and pay by phone. Purchases are picked up in front of, or, at the entrance of the shop. Option available at Kiehl’s, Marionnaud, Sephora, and many others. Packages can also be sent directly to the customer. Marionnaud doesn’t stop and offers to speak with an advisor by video call for personalized recommendations. We take advantage of this opportunity to shop their new product line “Marionnaud Green” made of 90% natural ingredients.
In shops, policy is the same everywhere: a limited number of customers, hydroalcoholic gel and mandatory masks, products available on request… You can relax, beauty experts take safely care of everything, especially of you.
THE BIG INNOVATORS
A must visit? The Dior boutique. Located on the most beautiful avenue in the world, Les Champs-Élysées, this unique shopping experience is now virtual. On the website you can take a 360° tour and find perfumes, candles, body care, bath products, and even some accessories. The visitor walks around, chooses the products he wants to discover, and adds them into his basket with a simple click. Launched in February 2020, the shop will change its atmosphere 6 times a year.
Another luxury brand: YSL Beauty. Lately, they organized the first virtual party. On Friday, May 15th at 9:30 pm, the YSL Beauty Club “Virtual Room” took place for the first time on Zoom. More than a thousand guests from every were in the world (Paris, New York, Singapore…) met on the application. Virtual Photocall, animation by the famous Dj Louise Chen, dance’s performances, make-up advice provided in the “cabinet de toilette” by a make-up artist and sequined neon virtual wallpaper were proposed. To celebrate the end of lockdown, the brand has chosen to surf on the craze for digital experiences and proved that nothing could stop it.
LES BONNES NOUVELLES DU CONFINEMENT
Recently announced, Sonia Rykiel’s brand is making a big comeback. First, with publications on social networks in order to arouse its community’s curiosity. Indeed, in the last few days, mysterious publications had been posted. Closed less than a year ago, after a judicial liquidation, it is now rising from its ashes thanks to Éric and Michael Dayan, two of the co-founders of showroomprivé.com website. Before being able to acquire new products from this iconic house, go to the brand’s Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account to see their #Followthestripes campaign.
Finally, the lockdown will have proven one thing, the craze for Made in France is real: on the food market but also in the fashion and beauty sectors. To reinforce our commitment, we can then offer (ourselves) “La Carte Française”. Launched in November 2019 without making a lot of noise, its concept is becoming more and more appealing after this period when many people favored a local consumption. The initiative is simple: a prepaid gift card to buy from retailers manufacturing at least 70% of their products in France. To be used online or in shop, it is a multi-brand card: gastronomy, fashion (Hopaal, Le Slip Français, Tranquille Emile, Lolo custom-made lingerie …), home, sports (Coureur du Dimanche, In’Bo …), childrens, cosmetics (Polaar, Saeve …) or tech. We support SMEs and consume in an eco-friendlier way by reducing our carbon footprint.
Source: La carte Française & Fashion United