British fragrance brand Molton Brown is unveiling a major refurbishment of its London flagship this week, shaking up its bricks-and-mortar offering with a new AR and sustainability-focused customer experience.
The updated Regent Street store design will embed technology touch points throughout to bring the brand’s products to life.
Sustainable product solutions and retailing will be seen throughout, said Molton Brown, as well as a newly designed immersive fragrance discovery experience.
“Our flagship store on Regent Street, one of the UK’s most iconic shopping destinations, has always been incredibly important to us as a brand. Our expansive fragrance category lies at the heart of the in-store experience,” Beatrice Descorps, VP of Marketing at Molton Brown Global, exclusively told Cosmetics Business.
“Customers will be able to explore and learn through elevated one-to-one consultations via our ‘fragrance finder’ personality quiz or through new, carefully curated AR technology, which will bring our exceptional – and sustainable – ingredients to life, alongside offering behind-the-scenes content.”
In the ‘fragrance playground’, a dedicated space for customers to explore the brand’s range of scents, iPads will provide a multi-sensory experience using AR to animate ingredients, “bringing collections to life in a way that goes beyond just scent”.
Customers can enjoy Molton Brown's Fragrance Playground
QR codes will also feature to deliver additional educational content on collections and the company’s perfumers.
“While shopping online has become the norm, the role of the physical store has evolved towards more immersion and discovery,” said Descorps.
“But, we operate in a category that is harder to discover if not in-person, so it’s more about immersing customers in an in-store experience that brings to life all of the wonderful products we offer.”
However, this focus on technology is aimed to complement the social side of traditional bricks-and-mortar.
“Given what has happened in the world over the past few years, we have really noticed an appetite from customers wanting to go back into stores to have a more human, person-to-person experience,” she added.
AR touchpoints will sit alongside in-store fragrance sale consultants who can help customers select their scent with one-to-one consultations.
Meanwhile, in ‘the lounge’ area, consumers can experience a hand and arm massage.
Paying homage to the brand’s green ethos
The other major element of the Regent Street refurbishment is sustainability, with the fragrance giant using it to showcase its ethical credentials to consumers.
Pledging sustainable goals is a huge part of the brand’s heritage story, for example, Molton Brown the Kao-owned brand plans to use 100% sustainably sourced palm oil by the end of 2023 and has had an anti-animal testing policy for 50 years.
“Sustainability has always been part of our brand DNA and the entire store was designed with that at the core of our thinking,” explained Descorps.
While shopping online has become the norm, the role of the physical store has evolved towards more immersion and discovery
The company worked with design partners at Dalziel & Pow on the refurbishment to ensure sustainable product solutions were focal points throughout, including a refillable fragrance, bath & shower gel and hand washes station.
“We have also made a design feature within the new store of one of our most sustainable ingredients – hydroponically grown herbs – which feature in our hair care collection and are grown in a controlled, pesticide-free environment with LED technology and a closed loop water system to minimise water use,” she added.
Other eco-friendly additions include store props sourced from charity shops and part of the wall covering being created with cork, which is made in a zero-waste facility that uses mainly renewable energy.
The store also features FSC-certified wood laminate and low energy LEDs throughout.
The company’s ‘Return. Recycle. Reward.’ scheme will also be in effect, with customers who return plastic bottles to store to be recycled receiving a 10% discount off their next purchase.
A gifting service will enable customers to customise purchases, such as complimentary fragrance bottle engraving, but with sustainable gift wrap options, including ribbons made from recycled materials.
The brand's Refill stand is part of its eco mission
The sustainable beauty store blueprint
Descorps revealed that the Regent Street flagship redesign will form “a blueprint” of what will be rolled out to the other for 50 Molton Brown stores around the UK in the future – a process which is already underway with recent refits in its Nottingham and Leeds locations.
“These locations give us, as well as our loyal brand fans, the opportunity to have real world interactions and the chance to try new products and learn about the stories behind them,” said Descorps.
“We have been passionately investing in Molton Brown over the last few years, ensuring that we evolve to stay relevant and put customers at the heart of what we do.”
Photography: Dusan Kacan / Molton Brown