Mossy hills and mushrooms in Seattle, airplane window mirrors and jet-inspired decor in DC, and oversized products and signage in Los Angeles are just a few examples of Glossier’s unique approach to retail. The brand is known for its simple products, beautiful packaging and great customer service. But over the years, its Instagram-worthy retail began to steal the spotlight, especially as the brand began to rely on it as an alternative to big marketing campaigns and partnerships. Glossier stores have undoubtedly become exponentially valuable to its growth and success, perhaps now more than ever.
Glossier stores help the brand create meaningful relationships with customers.
The purpose of its stores extends far beyond transactions to create meaningful connections with customers. Kyle Leahy, CEO of Glossier, said: “Our stores are just one part of our omnichannel strategy, but they are incredibly important, both as a key element of our differentiated customer experience and as a profitable growth channel for us. As a beauty brand that gives customers it gives the opportunity to try on products in real time, create your own swatches and stimulate the discovery of beauty, all of which are reasons why we continue to believe in retail as a key lever of our business.”
The brand currently has eight locations, including Williamsburg, which opened earlier this month. On opening day, she hosted a block party with food trucks, a DJ and local vendors from the community. At one point, there were 600 people in line, and sales reached roughly $76,000, beating the brand’s previous record by $13,000. This success reinforced what was already clear to the brand – the stores are valuable.
The store experience creates loyal customers, which is essential in this economy.
In today’s economy, some may feel that brands should sacrifice stores to cut costs, but that will likely result in lost revenue. These physical locations are more than transactional touchpoints; they are marketing channels that are known to acquire high value customers at probably lower acquisition costs than some online methods. “Overall, I predict that shoppers will become increasingly selective about where they spend their dollars—consumers will value the emotional connection with brands even more than they do now,” Leahy said, adding that “our stores’ approach to beauty is people-first, and attention to community and exploration will resonate deeply with shoppers who seek a sense of connection with the brands they invest time and money in.”
There’s something to be said for brand loyalty and how a brick-and-mortar store can create a connection so strong that customers choose to return even in the toughest of times.
Omnichannel is the future and retail is a valuable part of it.
Earlier this year, Glossier laid off some of its employees. Like many companies that have experienced hardship during the pandemic, it has had to make some changes. It has reorganized and shifted its focus to omnichannel, which includes retail, e-commerce and, recently, a wholesale partnership with Sephora. “We’re laser-focused on our core DNA as a beauty brand: Glossier was launched with a vision to change the way the world sees beauty, and that vision remains the same. One of the most compelling ways we can advance that vision and maintain meaningful touchpoints with consumers , is through experiential retail,” Leahy said.
The brand will open another location in New York’s SoHo district early next year and has expressed its desire to continue bringing locations to people around the world. It will also be available at Sephora in the US and Canada in early 2023.
In this economy, many digital brands are opening retail stores. A great example is Leap, which launches and operates stores on behalf of brands. The company announced $50 million in funding earlier this year and has nearly 100 locations open across 60 brands, with many more in the pipeline. It also recently shared plans to partner with landlords like Simon and Rohrer. But what’s remarkable about Glossier stores, beyond being physical touchpoints for customers, is their striking design, which makes them valuable marketing tools. The definition of brand stores is therefore unique, but one that could easily be and perhaps should be widely adopted in the coming years.