The accepted wisdom of the current retail reality is that no formerly brick-and-mortar brand can operate in a vacuum from the destabilizing effects of online sales. This presupposes that industries are essentially the same online and offline, though, and an entire market of brick-and-mortar cosmetics brands are proving that they can carry on just fine in the physical world.
National Real Estate Investor commented on the strong growth of several in-store beauty brands that have managed to elevate the makeup and cosmetics shopping process to something indelibly physical. In particular, strong performances from Sephora have led the brand to set up pop-up shops in 60 new JCPenney locations opening by the end of 2016, and according to Davidowitz & Associates chairman Howard Davidowitz, it all comes down to giving shoppers experiences that can’t be replicated by online merchants no matter how hard they may try.
“Take companies like Ulta Beauty or Sephora,” Davidowitz told NREI. “They are insulated from Amazon.com. Amazon can’t put makeup on you. They are doing something Amazon can’t do. That is a very big deal.”
Some brands like L’Oreal that don’t have a cut-and-dry B&M presence still recognize the importance of showing off beauty products in a space that allows consumers to get up close and personal with them – as L’Oreal did in convenience stores across New York City for new offerings from several of its private-label brands, complete with personal stylists to make the experience even more unique.
It would seem as if the cosmetics industry has found a corner of the retail market that Amazon can’t touch – though it’s not for lack of trying.