“We couldn’t be happier about bringing these two trusted brands together to redefine retail beauty experiences,” said Brian Cornell, Target’s chairman and CEO. “This matchup brings Ulta Beauty’s coveted prestige beauty assortment, category expertise and guest loyalty together with Target’s high-growth beauty business and the ease and convenience of our industry-leading fulfillment services.”
Positioned near the store’s regular beauty section, the Ulta Beauty experience will showcase a curated selection of the brands’ latest products. This will include capsule collections, skincare and haircare products, and will be available at 100 Target stores nationwide in 2021. The brands are also exploring ways to integrate Ulta Beauty’s virtual try-on tool, GLAMLab, into the in-store experience so customers can safely test products before they buy.
This is the latest in a string of partnerships for Target, which has also created shopping experiences for Disney, CVS and Starbucks.
Chipotle opens digital restaurant in NYC
American fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill will launch its first digital-only restaurant in New York. The Chipotle Digital Kitchen will offer only pick-up and delivery services, and customers can order on the restaurant’s website, app or via third-party delivery partners.
On arrival to collect their food, customers will enter a lobby that has been designed to have the same ambience of a traditional Chipotle location. The Digital Kitchen will also have catering available in a separate lobby.
“The Digital Kitchen incorporates innovative features that will complement our rapidly growing digital business, while delivering a convenient and frictionless experience for our guests,” said Curt Garner, Chipotle’s chief technology officer. “With digital sales tripling year over year last quarter, consumers are demanding more digital access than ever before, so we’re constantly exploring new ways to enhance the experience for our guests.”
The company has a dedicated design and innovation hub in California called the Cultivate Center, just minutes from Chipotle HQ. The 22,000-square-foot facility features eco-friendly materials and is designed in line with other Chipotle locations. In homage to the company’s heritage, a sign from the first restaurant (Denver, Colorado, 1993) in the chain hangs in the entryway. This is also where you’ll find the company’s test kitchen and a production studio for commercials, and space for staff training and development.
The facility is also home to the Center of Excellence for Design and Construction, with a development lab, metal cutting and woodworking machinery where prototypes are tested before being rolled out to restaurants. The company has also invested in consumer research space for focus groups, as well as conference rooms and event spaces.
“The Cultivate Center is a best-in-class space that will allow us to push the boundaries of innovation while delivering on our mission of cultivating a better world,” said Tabassum Zalotrawala, Chipotle’s chief development officer.
M&S rolls out new Mobile Pay Go payment in the UK
UK retailer M&S has expanded its checkout-free technology, called Mobile Pay Go’ to all 573 stores in its network. Shoppers can now purchase items with a total of up to £45 via the M&S app. They simply scan their items as they shop, pay with a pre-saved card or Apple pay, and then leave without having to go to a checkout.
The initiative is the latest step in M&S’s digital expansion that is aimed at making Christmas shopping safer and easier for customers. The Mobile Pay Go release follows the roll-out of Sparks Book & Shop, an appointment shopping service that has facilitated more than 81,000 shopping timeslots.
“We want to help our customers shop with confidence — especially as we head towards Christmas — and that’s why we’ve accelerated the rollout of Mobile Pay Go to all our UK stores,” said M&S stores director Helen Milford. “With the current restrictions in place, making shopping as easy and efficient as possible is really important to us and to our customers. Mobile Pay Go helps do just that — it’s quick, contact-free and means fewer queues at our checkouts.”
The shopping feature was trialled at 50 London stores in March, and was then expanded into 300 stores. The M&S app has been downloaded more than 1.6 million times since relaunching in July.
L’Oreal virtual makeup shift
L’Oreal and Google have partnered to develop technology that allows customers to search for cosmetics and try them on virtually before purchasing. The French beauty brand is looking to make up for lost revenue due to the closure of stores during the pandemic by expanding its online offerings. The parent company of Maybelline returned to comparable sales growth in Q3 as restrictions eased, said L’Oreal digital chief Lubomira Rochet, adding that “there’s been an acceleration in all our partnerships due to Covid-19”.
L’Oreal acquired ModiFace, a Canadian augmented reality specialist, in 2018, and has noticed a surge in use of virtual makeup testing tools during lockdown. Rochet explained that the conversion rate from an advertisement to purchase was three times higher when a try-on tool was used.
Online sales of beauty products, particularly in China, are making up for some of the company’s losses. With parts of Europe back in lockdown, Rochet expects that for the next three to seven years, half L’Oreal’s sales will come from online.