Not all skin care consumers shop the same — and Origins is recognizing that with a new store design unveiled this month at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Dubbed nature’s laboratory, the design by Origins and New York firm Lalire March Architects is an evolution of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand’s store concept that broke through the skin care shopping clutter two decades ago with a barrier-free selling environment. So-called guides still walk freely around the store to provide assistance, but design enhancements are intended to encourage customers to direct their own shopping as well through a digital touch-screen, ample testing at a “Discovery Bar,” and visual merchandising displays highlighting best-selling products and key ingredients.
“We are trying to give the customers different ways to shop and different stories around our products, creating zones within the store where she can play and investigate on her own, sample, try things, read and create a customized experience,” said Melissa Knapp, vice president and creative director of Origins and Ojon.
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The effort to update Origins retail started after Jane Lauder, global president and general manager of Origins and Ojon, joined the brand in 2008 and worked to reassert the brand’s identity as high-performance, naturally based and ecologically friendly. At the time, the brand conducted in-store customer interviews to evaluate how the products were being sold and merchandised, which led to a shift from the selection being arranged by product type like cleanser and toner to concerns like redness and aging.
The new design reinforces the brand’s scientific and natural messaging with beakers brimming with botanical ingredients used in product formulae. Arches in the ceiling are a nod to greenhouses, and science labs inspire brushed metal and white surfaces. Slatted wood walls are lit from behind as if they were illuminated by natural light.
Origins plans to renovate its Grand Central Station store within the next few months to outfit it with the latest design components, and future renovations to the brand’s fleet of 92 U.S. stores will be made on a case-by-case basis. The brand is carried in 398 department store doors domestically and already has revamped the Macy’s counter at the Westfield Century City shopping center in concert with the new design. The design is also being rolled out internationally, where Origins now has a 486 doors at a mix of freestanding, department and specialty stores. The brand will add approximately 90 more by the end of the calendar year.
Sales of skin care at Estée Lauder rose 14 percent — the most of any category — to nearly $1.03 billion in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 2010. Origins’s latest skin care offering, launching this month, is Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum, fueled by an extract from the leaves and bark of the African Anogeissus tree. Origins executives do not break out sales figures, but industry sources estimate that the product could generate $25 million in first-year retail sales globally.