By  on November 12, 2010

File under “Wish We Thought of That Idea.” MeccaMaxima, the latest retail concept by Australian beautystore chain Mecca Cosmetica, is “a unique combination ofhigh touch and self-service—where the customers are incontrol, have a voice and can play as much as they want,”according to founder Jo Horgan. Spearheading the power-to-the-customer approach are “talking” shopping baskets,equipped with a plastic sign that reads “Busy Browsing” onone side and “I Need Help” on the other. Dedicatedplay stations turn up throughout the store’s sevensections of color, hair, skin care, body, fragrance, accessories and nails. Customers can use touch screensto self-diagnose individual skin conditions or scan aproduct to reveal its pertinent information. For theservice-oriented, staff wear badges emblazoned withtitles according to their expertise, such as “FragranceExpert” or “Makeup Artist.” Making its debut lastmonth in Melbourne’s popular Central ShoppingCentre, Mecca Maxima measures 2,000 square feetand retails 3,000 products by 100 brands, including aselection from Mecca and Kit (Horgan’s other retailconcept), plus prestige names hitting Mecca’s shelvesfor the first time, Yves Saint Laurent.

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