File under “Wish We Thought of That Idea.” Mecca Maxima, the latest retail concept by Australian beauty store chain Mecca Cosmetica, is “a unique combination of high touch and self-service—where the customers are in control, 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” on one side and “I Need Help” on the other. Dedicated play stations turn up throughout the store’s seven sections of color, hair, skin care, body, fragrance, accessories and nails. Customers can use touch screens to self-diagnose individual skin conditions or scan a product to reveal its pertinent information. For the service-oriented, staff wear badges emblazoned with titles according to their expertise, such as “Fragrance Expert” or “Makeup Artist.” Making its debut last month in Melbourne’s popular Central Shopping Centre, Mecca Maxima measures 2,000 square feet and retails 3,000 products by 100 brands, including a selection from Mecca and Kit (Horgan’s other retail concept), plus prestige names hitting Mecca’s shelves for the ﬁrst time, Yves Saint Laurent.
This story first appeared in the November 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.