NYX Cosmetics opened its first East Coast store over February 20 with all the high-technology bells and whistles of its five existing U.S. stores in California. Based on consumer reaction, there’s big anticipation for the L’Oréal-owned, fashion-forward brand.
At least 500 people were on line for each day of the three-day grand opening at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, N.J. about 25 miles outside of Manhattan.
“Based on our previous openings in California, we were confident the Willowbrook opening would be a success, but we were ecstatic to see the support from our consumers, influencers and media throughout the weekend,” said Nathalie Kristo, NYX Cosmetics, Senior Vice President Marketing and Global Business Development. “We could not be more thrilled by the enthusiastic response from our East Coast fans.”
People in the queue said it was worth the wait for the opportunity to get a makeup bag with scratch offs for free products, a $100 gift certificate to use in-store, mini-lipsticks, and $5 off a purchase of $25. A $75 purchase nabbed customers a free mini-train case. Plus, the first 200 people in line each day received a wristband to attend free meet-ups with some favorite beauty vloggers and Instagram stars. The opening was publicized via Twitter and the mall’s Facebook, along with prominent signage near the Bloomingdale’s wing of the center.
“We learn a little with each store,” said Scott Friedman, NYX’s CEO. “When consumers walk in, they are immersed in the colorful, creative world of NYX with a series of innovative technologies to assist in education and inspiration from the global beauty community.”
In addition to the California doors, NYX has gone global with stores in in Canada, France, Italy and Spain.
“It’s an exciting time. There has been a lot of pent-up demand for this type of store, which is the first in the category to be relevant to today’s makeup artistry and today’s socially interactive, digitally focused customer. No other retailer (in the category) offers this. It’s huge,” said Maria Fesler, Senior Vice President of Operations, during a tour of the brightly-lit, wired-up store.
An energy pulses throughout NYX with digital signage on walls directing shoppers to core categories: eye, lip and face. Choices are wide with the Lip Bar stocking 697 lipsticks. All imagery, according to Maria, features real consumers—not models. “Customers relate better to them than to models, and then have the confidence to use a company’s products to create professional looks that you obviously don’t have to be a model to achieve,” she said.
In the center of store is the NYX Beauty Bar, which the company calls “the gathering place.” An interactive makeup station features custom NYX video tutorials and products for customers to recreate new and trending makeup looks. There are several different sections with different tutorials on how to use products, such as Sculpt + Strobe and Wonder Stick Highlight & Contour Stick. The area was jammed with women trying to learn new techniques, such as sculpting and brow contouring.
“In terms of particular success within the store, our digital beauty bar is always a hit – this is where our fans can follow easy tutorials to recreate trending makeup looks,” said Nathalie. “Also, our build-your-own shadow palette wall, launched first in the Willowbrook store, was another big hit. At NYX, we pride ourselves on fostering self-expression through makeup, and this new store feature encourages individual creativity through a fun and customizable activity.”
What NYX calls Wayfinder technology is on hand at displays allowing visitors to pick up products and scan the bar code to get detailed product info—including price, what it is and how it can be used to create certain looks. Screens atop fixtures at the front of the store have product packages highlighting new and hot products along with images showing how they are used. The content and product is rotated monthly.
A merger of social media and physical stores was seen at Instafeed – an area where customers are invited to upload selfies wearing or using the products. The best selfies appear on the store’s Instafeed. Marie Gulin-Merle, Chief Marketing Officer, L’Oréal USA, made reference to this recently at an industry event saying “it brings Instagram to life and connects human beings and technology.”
The purpose of the digital technology and the way the store is set up is to help customers explore and play, Marie added. “We’re the hosts. We’re there to help them play, not to do the playing for them.”
Customers aren’t looking for makeup artists to do a dedicated 30-minute makeover. “When we were trying to identify and refine our retail model, we found that our customer isn’t looking for extensive services, so we aren’t offering them here or in any of our other stores. What they do want—and what we are providing—is assistance to quickly show them how to do the perfect brow or create the perfect smoky eye, etc.—plus the interactive technology, like the tutorials, so they can learn themselves,” Marie explained.
NYX’s future stores in 2016 include Tyson’s Corner, McLean, Virginia; Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota and Sherman Oaks, California.