Re-opening Beauty and Cosmetics Retail: We Expect Change and Predict a New Future

By Josh Knox, Senior Designer, D4R

Over the last few months, we have explored the behavioural changes that have become ingrained in our societal identity and social psyche. These new behaviours are a symptom of lengthy global lock-downs, social distancing measures, and an underlying fear of infection. Habits such as regular hand-washing, keeping a 2m distance, no crowd gatherings, and memories of life in lock-down will likely have a drastic impact on how retail is conducted and on consumer mindsets for generations to come.

For beauty and cosmetics’ retail, the shopping experience and customer journey will be drastically changed. Customers will expect a far greater level of cleanliness than that of other sectors, with communal use tester products becoming an unthinkable concept. Shopper interaction points will need to be re-thought, store policy and staff interaction too. During the current situation, and until a vaccine has been introduced and proven to be effective, shoppers will require reassurance from brands and retailers that they are going the extra mile to keep their customers safe.

Shoppers will be looking to brands and retailers to tell them what to do to stay safe, seeking validation from a robust and trustworthy voice. Customers will need to be led gently and with assurance into the ‘new normal’ where old practices have necessarily been replaced, and be provided with as much in the way of new innovation and efficiency as possible.

Beauty Will Be Agile

Lock-down measures the world over have accelerated the need for brand activity to become more efficient, to meet customers in places they inhabit and exist. The pandemic has had an inescapable effect on retail – halting both supply and demand, making it difficult to trade physically, and increasing anxiety around entering public spaces for shoppers. As more shoppers return to the high street, beauty retailers and brand stores will need to adapt to make it as easy as possible for customers to make a purchase.

The beauty industry has a deep challenge, much like many other industries relying on sales that are based on first-hand product experience. With consumer aversion to interact in communal spaces, or use public amenities, we expect that using tester product will be almost as unthinkable as using a public water fountain during this viral pandemic.

We will need to work hard to entice shoppers back to retail spaces, offering something they cannot experience at home or solely online – albeit in a safe, clean environment that supports shopper needs. Beauty brands and their design consultants will need to invent new ways of shopping, new processes for product demonstrations, and even more innovative methods to engage customers.

In our latest insight report, we explore the possible pathways for beauty brands and retailers re-opening during today’s landscape by discussing the top 10 considerations to be had when it comes to re-engaging with customers in the physical realm, including:

1 Interaction-free service

2 The new ‘hygiene’

3 The future of testers

4 Shopping by appointment

5 Informed decision making

6 Virtual consultation

7 Reconnecting the community

8 Re-inventing packaging

9 A.I beauty

10 Non-mission shopping

If you are a brand or retailer interested in receiving a copy of our latest insight report, Re-opening Beauty, drop us an email to and we’ll send one over.

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