The recession and technology have fueled a flat retail world where new places to buy, save and inform are creating a more savvy consumer. According to WSL Strategic Retail, this new flat, horizontal world has three layers: a surface, where shoppers skim across all formats, options and brands in their quest for the smartest buy; a technology cloud, which lies above the surface and provides access to all shopping choices; and the third layer, below the surface, is a social shopping world where consumers talk, listen, share, opine and take control of brands, stores, what they buy, from whom or not. Already non-traditional beauty brick and mortars are responding to the pressure to stand apart from one another. There’s Payless Shoe Store, which expanded its beauty line into bath and body, and Bed Bath & Beyond, which is testing a L’Oréal Boutique.