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MAC Cosmetics’ NYC Concept Store Signals ‘New Age’ for Beauty

Managing Editor
Rethink Retail

October 09, 2020

In a 1962 episode of The Jetsons, matriarch and style-queen Jane Jetson is jostled awake by the raucous wails of her videophone. Alarmed that she might be seen looking less than chic, Jane swiftly scurries to put on her “morning mask”—a slip-on, made-up version of her own face—before answering the call.

And while we may still be lightyears away from an IRL instant-face, global beauty brand MAC Cosmetics is giving its shoppers the Jane Jetson treatment, and then some. Unveiled last week, MAC’s New York City concept store is a futuristic playscape for beauty gurus, beauty beginners, and everyone in-between.
MAC store. image credit: MAC
Located in the iconic Queen’s Center shopping mall, the new store enables shoppers to become creators of their own experience. Blending high-glamour, space-age design, and innovative digital technology, MAC’s new concept store has upgraded the customer experience with ultramodern flair.

Developed in collaboration with Valtech, the store houses sixteen virtual mirrors featuring a plethora of new looks, which the consumer can try in a contact-less manner—all without batting an eyelash.

Rethinking in-store try-on services

Those seeking out staple items, such as foundation, no longer need to worry about swatching numerous shades before finding the perfect fit. Instead, in-store shoppers can use a skin tone-matching, infrared touchscreen to find their ideal foundation shade. MAC store. image credit: MAC

The store’s new virtual features come at a time when the beauty industry has had to rethink in-store try-on services: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the beauty industry had seen tremendous growth of its physical footprint, largely due to customer demand for touch-and-feel experiences.MAC Store image credit MAC

MAC and Valtech kept this preference in mind when designing the store’s ‘pick and try’ feature. Powered by augmented reality (created in collaboration with MAC’s technology partners), data analytics, and RFID, this new digital tool allows customers to pick up any lipstick in-store and watch as it instantly appears on the lips of their own reflection.

Listen to the RETHINK Retail Podcast with MAC’s VP of Brand Technology, Chris Silver.

When they like what they see, customers can save their looks to a digital ‘Mac Pass’ profile that can later be accessed at home or whenever they return to the store. The new concept also offers a unique, ‘localized’ store online experience to customers, where the online customer profile now contains information about their local store.

Not just opening hours, but artists’ creative profile and bookings, new product and looks drops, and customized messaging based on online and retail preferences. It’s a fantastic way to keep in touch with customers in a hyper-localized, preference-targeted way.
Jon Hingston, Valtech’s Vice President of Connected Experiences.

Other key features of the store include an eyeshadow palette station where customers can select from 108 colors to create the perfect custom palette as well as options to customize product packaging with images, text or stickers.eye shadow palette. image credit: MAC

Increasing Engagement by 200% in the first month

Since launching the store, MAC Cosmetics have seen a 200%+ increase in engagement. This is average store engagement with comparable digital tools vs. this store (an average of all the engagement rates at each experience). Furthermore The MAC PASS has seen strong engagement with more than a third of consumers in-store leveraging the capability.

What comes next for beauty is yet to be seen, however if MAC’s new concept is any indicator, Jane Jetson’s morning mask may not be so far off after all.

Beauty Inside Retail whitepaper

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