When it comes to designing retail experiences in 2023, the bar is exceptionally high. This is particularly true for a luxury beauty store. Yet, the definition of luxury has changed during the last decade. Where the term was once associated with high quality and prestige, in the retail climate today, this alone is simply not enough to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers. Instead, creating a luxury brand experience today must be rooted in theatre and culture. By doing so, brands surpass the traditional notions of luxury being rooted within the material aspects of the product itself, and instead hone in on the power of their experiential design and services. For brands who do this well, the future is bright and will guarantee long term success in the future. In light of this, Sheridan&Co explores recent examples of brands successfully embracing theatre and culture within their retail environments.
Examples of theatre of and culture in a luxury beauty store experience in 2023
We have long believed in the power of cultural capital in delivering meaningful brand experiences. At the end of 2022 until mid January, Chanel hosted a free brand experience called ‘Le Grand Numéro de Chanel’. Entrance by reservation only, customers were invited to book their spots for this whimsical and interactive exhibition that spanned across 5 rooms. They were No. 5, Chance, Bleu de Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle and Les Exclusifs de Chanel. Each was distinctly different but equally experiential and designed to evoke all of the senses. The rooms were theatrical in their execution, with one room including a marching band and another enabled customers to watch dancers perform around the space. Other rooms showcased archival images that represented the brand heritage and another included carnival-like space dressed in ornate gold ornaments and twinkling lights from above. At the very end of the experience, once customers had been swept away off their feet by this truly emotional journey, customers had the opportunity to purchase Chanel beauty products. The interesting takeaway from this brand exhibition is that the experience is superior to the selling of the product itself. Effective retail experiences are ones that are driven by storytelling and theatre and everything else becomes secondary. Positioning the experience as an exhibition cements Chanel’s role as a cultural tastemaker and a leading brand within the world of luxury.
Another brand leaning into the world of theatre and culture to create an engaging beauty retail experience is Gentle Monster. Towards the back end of 2022, the brand launched Tamburins Olfactory Archives Candle Exhibition Space at Haus Shanghai China. The goal of this cultural experience was to stimulate all senses via beauty and art. The products were presented in curved like expressions, offering a tactile experience designed to inspire synesthesia.
The future of the luxury beauty store in 2023 and beyond will demand that brands embrace the role of theatre and culture in order to deliver a meaningful retail experience.Sheridan&Co
The future of designing theatrical experiences in retail
Looking ahead to the autumn months, Le Bon Marché is hosting an immersive theatrical experience set in the beauty department by Cirque Le Roux called ‘Entre Chiens et Louves’. The production will run between September to December during after hours. This retail strategy evidences the consumer expectation for demanding more from brands than simply product displays. They are hungry for experiences and theatre.
The future of the luxury beauty store in 2023 and beyond will demand that brands embrace the role of theatre and culture in order to deliver a meaningful retail experience. Designing retail experiences will require brands to consider the emotional journey of their environments. Brands that will be successful will be the ones that recognise theatre and experience are superior to their products. The true definition of luxury retail is no longer defined by high quality products or prestige, but rather a brand’s capacity to capture the heart and imagination of their audience.
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