- Coty-owned Covergirl is opening its new flagship store in New York City's Times Square on Black Friday, according to a news release. The new two-level store is the brand's first permanent retail location and was designed to embody Covergirl's brand philosophy "I Am What I Make Up."
- The new store will feature several experiential features that create a "shared beauty experience." Visitors will be greeted by Olivia, a virtual greeter powered by Dialogflow, Google's platform for creating natural artificial intelligence-powered conversations. Olivia will share beauty advice, answer questions and direct shoppers to products.
- Augmented reality glam stations, powered by Holition, let shoppers virtually try one lipstick and eye shadow by picking up their favorite color in the tray. The look can be completed with blushes, mascaras and foundations, and shoppers can digitally share their makeovers with friends. Customization stations let consumers personalize a lipstick and makeup back. A team of Covergirl BFFs will also be on hand to offer tips, makeup application and product recommendations.
Covergirl announced plans for the new 10,000-squre-foot flagship store and interactive "play room" concept this summer. Opening its doors on Black Friday at the kickoff of the holiday shopping season is a strategic move for the beauty brand, providing an opportunity to attract droves of holiday shoppers likely to be around Times Square over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.The brand is clearly also hoping the store will boost social media engagement with selfie backdrops and other visual elements present in the store to encourage shoppers to share their shopping moments on social media.
Beauty brands have been embracing interactive technology, like AI and augmented reality, to provide consumers with memorable, customized shopping experiences. Covergirl's merging digital and brick-and-mortar to create a shared beauty experience could appeal to Gen Zers, who enjoy blending in-store and online shopping experiences. Eighty percent of Gen Zers say they look forward to shopping in stores when they have time, but 75% do most of their shopping online out of convenience, according to Criteo research. Most Gen Zers prefer being able to touch and feel products before purchasing and to use their smartphones while in-store. They also enjoy unique product displays and ways to test out products in stores.
Enhanced shopping experiences, both in-store and online, are key for brands and retailers in attracting shoppers this holiday season. More than 80% of consumers are planning to spend the same amount or more on gifts in 2018 compared to last year, according to an OpenX survey. More than 70% are planning top shop at brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season, and 57% also plan to shop online via desktop and 42% via mobile, recent Citi Retail Services research revealed.
The new flagship store follows a Covergirl partnership with Walmart earlier this year that included a mobile-web try-on experience that lets consumers test out new looks using AR directly in a browser on most smartphones without needing a separate app. The campaign also offered five new looks created by Covergirl, which could be purchased via Walmart.com, along with influencer YouTube tutorials for creating the looks.