Nothing is more exciting than finding the perfect shade of make-up, or discovering a new fragrance – and shopping online does not give you the feel for a product before purchasing. Augmented reality tries its best to replicate the experience, but you still cannot feel the product or smell the perfume. Consumers have a renewed affinity with brick-and-mortar stores, and retailers are employing adaptive strategies to meet their expectations.


Test-Driving Products

New innovative stores are stepping up and merging the best parts of shopping online and in-person into something new. Look at China’s latest innovative brick and mortar stores:

  • Only Write is a beauty retailer that keeps its products out of sight unless you’re trying them out. And if you find something you like, you just scan its QR code, pay with your phone, pick it up at the counter and you are done! This shopping experience is focused on trying out products with intent to purchase in a seamless manner.
  • Another concept launched was by retailer Haydon (“Heaven of Samples”) where a wide selection of beauty products sold are in mini sizes. This place became a fast hit, allowing consumers to test and try before committing to larger sizes.
  • B+Tube is another place that is all about the future, with digital screens and AI to help consumers try on makeup virtually and physically through video tutorials. This place blends the digital with the physical, making it a new way to shop.


Brand Discovery and Touchpoints

As new beauty brands enter the market, brick and mortar stores play a vital role in helping shoppers find and fall in love with a new brand. The customer can touch, feel, and try on products seen only online or new favorites that come highly recommended by other beauty lovers or influencers. Take for instance Tokyo’s @Cosme, it has a special section filled with winners of the @cosme Beauty Awards from skincare to makeup and haircare. And if you are curious about what’s hot in Japan now, there is another section at the back of the store where you will find the latest buzzworthy products – all selected by the @cosme community.

Another way to help consumers discover new beauty brands and products is to focus on niches, like Chinese retailer H.E.A.T. that launched in 2020 and quickly grew to 10 stores. It appeals to a younger crowd with its sleek design and wide selection of over 300 brands, which includes up and coming Chinese brands and unique finds from around the globe. The selection criteria for these products are trustworthiness, online popularity, design, and brand philosophy.



Shopping for beauty has changed into a whole new experience beyond products as the wellness category grows. It is all about the complete package of feeling good inside and out. Shops have become wellness destinations where the lines between beauty and overall wellness blur, offering everything you need under one roof – from vitamins to stylish home scents to spa treatments. The next generation of beauty retail are like an escape or sanctuary as seen in Paris, where Wellness Galerie merges beauty, well-being, and expert services in one destination. And in Canada, Rennaï positions itself as a self-care sanctuary and has unique partnerships with renowned luxury brands that elevates the shopping experience to new heights, like with Hermès to introduce the country’s first beauty and fragrance boutique within a store.


This industry is always evolving to meet consumer’s needs, demands, and trends and the old brick and mortar stores are getting an innovative facelift with the changing times.

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