Posts with term l’Occitane X

Beauty & Power of Nature

“L’OCCITANE will showcase and explain its recycling program, created in partnership with TerraCycle in 2014, in every store that offers it. Empty cosmetic containers (of any cosmetics brand) can be recycled inside the store. The company hopes to provide recycling facilities at all company-owned stores by 2025 (all stores in France already have them), as well as expand the program with TerraCycle to recycle non-readily recyclable material. “We want to achieve a circular economy where every material used can have a second life,” says Geiger.


The mall at Union Station has steadily gone from a mostly-forgettable collection of stores and the Barnes and Noble (which was awesome and which I still miss) to a really great collection of stores in a short time. In the short span of a year, we’ve welcomed Warby Parker, Sugarfina, Carpe Librum, Magnolia Bakery plus the VR Arcade in the lower level, which may not be a store but which is delightful and cool. Last Saturday, September 29,L’Occitane re-opened next door to Magnolia Bakery– in the space formerly occupied by Nine West.

L’Occitane Embraces The High-Tech Experience

When one thinks of French beauty brand L’Occitane en Province, high-tech is probably not the first adjective that springs to mind. Known for its shea and almond bath products, lavender scents and its tastefully muted color scheme, L’Occitane is very much about what its tag line says it is: natural beauty from the south of France. Historical profile aside, L’Occitane is looking to compete in a technology driven, digital and experiential retail environment, which means being naturally beautiful is not enough. Some technological augmentation is required. And, as it rolls out its Manhattan flagship store today (Aug. 22), it seems L’Occitane has decided to lean in all the way in an attempt to create those robust retail experiences. The Midtown store will offer an area dedicated to social media and a live feed of the company’s U.S. Instagram account — an area where L’Occitane has been working to establish a bigger footprint. Customers in the store, with the help of stationary bikes and augmented reality (AR) technology, will be able to take a bike ride through Provence, or a virtual reality (VR) powered hot air balloon ride through the South of France. That virtual ride comes with a hand massage using the beauty brands products. The brand is also using their new store as a vehicle to expand the sustainability project it first undertook with international recycling company TerraCycle, offering customers a 10 percent discount on one full-size L’Occitane product if they hand over their used makeup bottles. Customers will also be able to engrave and customize Swell water bottles with their names and other personalized designs, in an effort to prevent disposable bottles from clogging landfills. Customers will also be able to customize other L’Occitane merchandise. And, speaking of merchandise, the products themselves are prominently placed, of course, and set up for experimentation. The new store is part of a broader effort to compete with other beauty specialists like like Ulta and Sephora, as well as department stores like Macy’s, and even bigger entrances from players like Target and Walmart. L’Occitane has responded to the increasing competition with bigger efforts at enticement in the U.S. market — last fall, it rolled out a  lavender-scented truck to entice shoppers back into sync with the brand as it reworks its American store fleet. The New York flagship, said Paul Blackburn, vice president of concept design, construction and merchandising at L’Occitane North America, is its most visible effort at driving new-customer acquisition. After a week-long soft launch in Midtown, things are looking promising. The 1,870-square-foot shop has greeted over 2,400 prospective customers, making it most foot-trafficked store in America, according to Blackburn. To keep those consumer engaged, the store’s contents will continuously change — 60 percent of the store setups will be switched around about four times a year. Some things, like the social media area and the VR experience, were designed to be permanent features, while other elements may also remain unchanging, depending on what consumers end up liking best.
Stores are the more powerful driver of L’Occitane’s retail business, generating 75 percent of its sales. Loyal customers who have already bought into the brand tend to shop online for replenishment products, but stores have reliably been the brand’s best connection to generating new business.
And while its sales have been positive, and revenue has grown in recent quarters, the brand senses that it might need a bit of rebranding. The L’Occitane demographic is aged at 43, and is fairly affluent. It is happy to keep that demographic, and its enthusiastic spending habits, but it also wants its customer base to be a bit more inclusive. The goal, Blackburn noted, is to change the common perception of L’Occitane from serious and old-fashioned to “modern and fun.” “We have an obligation as a brand to continue to push the envelope,” he said. “There needs to be a reason for a customer to come into stores now more than ever.”

L’Occitane reinterprets traditional flagship-store idea with new experiential retail concept

L’Occitane’s new store is full of flashy tech. On Wednesday, the French beauty brand will open at 555 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan with a new retail concept that leans heavily into experiences. The store dedicated an area to social media, with a video live feed of the company’s U.S. Instagram account, where the brand is trying to grow its presence. There’s an opportunity for shoppers to “bike through Provence” using stationary bikes against a scenic French background. Customers can also test the brand’s first virtual reality experience, which takes them through a 360-degree hot air balloon ride though the south of France, while receiving a free, real-life hand massage with L’Occitane products. On the merchandising side, a rain-shower sink is prominently displayed at the front of the store for shoppers to test products. Surrounding merchandise includes L’Occitane’s best-selling ingredient franchises, like shea and almond bath and body products. New-customer acquisition was the driver for L’Occitane rethinking its retail presence, said Paul Blackburn, vp of concept design, construction and merchandising at L’Occitane North America. The new 1,870-square-foot store consolidates existing businesses that were located nearby in Manhattan’s Times Square and Rockefeller Center, with a tourist-centered slant. After being open in a soft launch for a week, over 2,400 prospective customers have walked into the store, making it the most foot-trafficked store in America, according to Blackburn.
The new 5th Avenue location is significantly bigger than another one of the company’s largest stores, the Flatiron location in Manhattan, which opened in December 2016 and incorporated technology like smart beauty fitting rooms. Blackburn said the new store location is meant for the company to “take a risk.” Sixty percent of the in-store setups will change about four times per year, with a focus on key merchandising messages, though the social media photo area and the VR experiences will stay longer, depending on interest and engagement. “It’s a space that is meant to be ever-changing around product, campaign and philanthropy stories,” he said. For the launch, the store has dedicated a section of the space to the company’s sustainability initiatives: In May, L’Occitane partnered with international recycling company TerraCycle to collect empty bottles and packaging of all brands of beauty and skin-care products from customers. In exchange, shoppers receive a 10 percent discount toward one full-size L’Occitane product purchase. Customers will also be able to engrave and customize L’Occitane merchandise and Swell water bottles (which the brand has partnered with for the new store) with their names and other personalized designs. L’Occitane’s in-store investments come at a time when the brand is seeing 86 percent of its business in stores versus online. E-commerce has been a key driver for loyalists replenishing product, but stores better drive new business. The company reported net sales of $1.5 billion for 2018, a 4.6 percent increase over 2017. That was driven by positive same-store sales growth, and new and renovated stores — the company opened 41 stores and renovated 153 in the last year. That the brand is willing to iterate on the traditional flagship-store model and yearly calendar cadence of products is a growing opportunity, said Blackburn, who wants to change the L’Occitane perception from serious and old-fashioned to “modern and fun.” The average age of the L’Occitane woman is 43, and she is fairly affluent, said Blackburn. The new store concept isn’t just a play for millennial or Gen Z consumers, he added, but rather a reach for new customers across all demographics. While Blackburn wouldn’t disclose the initial investment in this kind of store concept, he did say it was less than the capital required for the traditional 2016 Flatiron flagship. Still, with the store being updated frequently, Blackburn said he sees store investment continuing. He also sees this new retail format as a novel way to grow the L’Occitane base in key international markets. “We have an obligation as a brand to continue to push the envelope,” he said. “There needs to be a reason for a customer to come into stores now more than ever. We are giving her that reason here.”