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Brief Published: 20 Mar 2020

Stores Adapt by Becoming No-Touch Environments

Space NK

Some British beauty brands have adapted their in-store practice to keep their physical stores trading (for the time being at least) by becoming no-touch environments.

Luxury retailer Space NK was the first to do so, stating that the change would mean that its teams would still be able to teach, coach and share advice, but without performing makeovers or skincare treatments with a hands-on approach. Since then, high street health and beauty behemoth Boots announced that its advisers for its own brands, No. 7, Liz Earle and Boots Beauty will similarly continue to deliver in-store advice, but without make-up consultations.

While the steps appear to be logical and straightforward, the legacy of such steps may well feed into a valuable nascent retail trend 'advocating for introverts', which focuses on less intrusive modes of brand behaviour. As detailed in Brand Spaces: 11 Trends & Opportunities for 20/21, it's got both high-tech and super low-fi ramifications. These range from French beauty brand Sephora's "please don't approach me if I'm using the black basket" in-store initiative in 2019 (which received high praise from consumers on social media) to Farfetch-owned luxury fashion boutique Browns East's in-app feature that lets shoppers message staff while actually in-store with them, side-stepping spoken language barriers or the intimidating prospect of a luxury upsell.