news • Mar 21 2024

Beauty is Booming: How Beauty is Innovating the Guest Experience

While the beauty industry is often underestimated as a superficial one, it has proven to be tremendously profitable. In 2023, the beauty industry generated approximately $430 billion in revenue, according to McKinsey and Company, and its projections for an even more profitable future are incredibly inspiring. 

So it’s no surprise that in recent years, beauty companies have evolved into major technology brands that garner tremendous success in the business world. On the forefront of experiential design, the beauty industry is making waves and creating buzz by implementing innovative experiences for customers. 


Glossier’s Growing Power

One of the most prominent names in the world of modern beauty, Glossier, revolutionized the transition from direct-to-consumer brand to a retail powerhouse. Seen as “disrupting beauty retail,” the pastel pink-drenched company created diverse storefronts seen as not just shops, but coveted destinations. Filled with dreamy mirrors and selfie rooms decorated by local artists, they opened several stores across the US in 2023, and even took their products on the road with a college campus tour

Glossier’s embrace of the customer experience is demonstrated strongly in Marisa Meltzer’s book, Glossy, Ambition, Beauty, and the Inside Story of Emily Weiss’s Glossier

Meltzer shared how a middle school-aged girl stood in line behind her at a Glossier store. The little girl tells her mother “I’m really excited. Isn’t it really pretty? I’m going to take so many pictures.” The girl’s anticipation at getting into the shop is a demonstration of the power of the retail experience. 

Glossier is able to entice followers into the storefronts because of their experiential staying power. Even though they can shop online, customers choose to show up in person because they want to experience the store. Boasting a strong social media component, fans see visiting the stores as an opportunity to gather content for their online lives.


Ulta’s Embrace of Experiential Technology

One of the major beauty megastores, Ulta Beauty recently announced they will be the first retailer to pilot Luum Precision Lash’s new technology, “which uses a combination of robotics and AI to enable lash artists to apply false eyelashes faster and more comfortably.” This innovation will allow robots to give customers lash extensions in the store. While it may seem untraditional, the concept is being referred to as “an entirely new category: beauty experience automation.” 

Ulta Beauty is also on the forefront of creating exciting brand activations. For this year’s Super Bowl, they teamed up with NYX Professional Makeup to create what they’re calling a “360-degree activation.” In addition to their Super Bowl commercial, where Cardi B wore a special shade created just for her called Cherry Spice, they rolled out experiential events at their stores that allowed customers to interact with the gloss, take photos and win free products. The joyous experience only bolstered the brand’s interactions with its customers. 


Pop-Up Power

Pop-up events are now essential activations for beauty brands looking to create an audience. Recently, several exciting beauty companies have leaned into pop-up events with great success.

Actress Selena Gomez’s company Rare Beauty teamed up with an experiential agency to create a pink space that mirrors her brand’s new tinted lip oil collection. Excited fans could pose in a video booth and see themselves projected onto the wall, becoming part of the “Alive with Color” campaign.

La Roche Posay’s example is seen as an “empowering popup.” Back in 2020, they declared September 1st as Acne Positivity Day. In 2023, they opened doors to a two-day Positivity Lab pop-up in NYC. There was a Science of Skin exhibit, a meditation lounge, a Positivity Photo Booth, and a Doodle Bar featuring custom art by local artists, plus La Roche-Posay skincare samples and much more. 

A brilliant embrace of the body positivity movement, La Roche Posay understood how a pop-up event could create a buzz. Similarly, the fragrance world tapped into the experiential market for the launch of Vera Wang’s 2023 Rock Princess fragrance. They created a space filled with diamonds, florals, and greens to “evoke that edgy rockstar attitude.” It featured branded cocktails, themed hors d’oeuvres, rock-inspired cake pops, and tattoos. By tapping into the fragrance’s rock n’ roll aesthetic, the brand created an exciting experience for customers to interact with.


With billions of dollars in profits and projections that it will only expand, the beauty industry has lasting financial power. 

In brands like Glossier and Ulta Beauty, we see the diverse ways the beauty industry grabs hold of the consumer. Ultimately, allowing them to immerse themselves in the shopping experience. 

In pop-up shopping experiences, brands are able to test the waters of the retail market. They can try out new and innovative methods of recruiting a loyal following. Clearly, the beauty industry will only continue to thrive. It’s an exciting opportunity for organizations to embrace the future of business. 

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