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Brief Published: 26 Feb 2019

Chanel’s Atelier Beauté Embraces Beauty Aficionados

Atelier Beauté Chanel

How do you create the ultimate beauty playground? Let consumers lead. That’s the defining feature at Chanel’s new, semi-covert Atelier Beauté – an aficionado-centric space where heavy-handed assistance is replaced with self-exploration and optional expert consultations for good measure.

The Atelier Beauté occupies the second floor of a SoHo building in New York, forgoing Chanel’s usual curb appeal to create a clubhouse ambience for beauty aficionados – a strategy that echoes the limited-access shops we outline in Brand Spaces 2019/20. We identify key retail strategies that set this store apart. 

  • Digital Profile for Easy-Access Personalisation: After visitors stash their bags in lockers (keeping the store floor clear and navigable), they use their phones to create a digital profile on a mobile microsite. This profile lets shoppers book stylist consultations or save products tried and liked, which can be referenced later for future purchases, both in-store and at other Chanel retail outposts. While app-controlled stores and tech shadowing cross-channel behaviour are becoming popular – see Omni-Commerce Gets Personal – a download-free microsite still enables Chanel to provide all customers (aficionados and newcomers) with a semi-personalised experience. 
  • Hands-Off, Self-Exploration: The main floor dispenses with Chanel’s traditional heavily-guided sales assistance in favour of consumer-led exploration (a tactic we unpick in Soft Sell: The New Retail). Guests can experiment with Chanel products at five stations, each devoted to a different core product. There’s little pressure to purchase, with staff staying out of the way unless approached.  
  • Interactive Fragrance Education: The fragrance counter has been reimagined as a “blind perfume bar”, where guests work one-on-one with scent experts to detect aromas in Chanel perfumes. This education-boosted experience follows themes highlighted in our Spotlight Trend The Sensory Opportunity, underlining the importance of sensory-led experiences for engaging highly-knowledgeable consumers. 
  • Personal Styling Opportunities: There’s also the opportunity to book one-on-one styling sessions, a clever move to appeal to beauty newbies.
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