Merging the digital world with the physical space has been a common initiative of most major retailers of late, but a relatively small makeup brand has taken that concept by the reins.
On Friday, Los Angeles-based cosmetics brand NYX Cosmetics opened its fourth store in California, and its ninth overall worldwide, in just four months. As Nathalie Kristo, senior vice president of global marketing and business development, conceded, the world isn’t really looking for just another makeup store. What’s unique about the NYX Professional Makeup stores, and is consistent with the brand’s ethos in general, is that the company is guided by the beauty vloggers and makeup artists who helped the brand gain visibility, she said.
Sarah El-Annan, assistant vice president of integrated marketing and public relations, said at the opening event in Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair that NYX Cosmetics has largely eschewed “traditional” advertising and marketing in favor of promotion on platforms like Instagram and YouTube to broadcast new products or trends. The stores follow suit, leaning heavily on imagery and interactive features that utilize the 5.5 million Instagram followers the brand, which was founded in 1999, has attracted.
Customers can, for example, scan a product bar code to interact with screens that show both the product’s details in addition to how customers have used the product, based on Instagram posts. It works when customers tag @NYXCosmetics and indicate which products were used in the look, El-Annan said. The team then manually selects which looks are added to the product’s results that are displayed in-store.
The NYX Beauty Bar looks much like the testing stations at most makeup counters. The difference? An interactive screen plays 90-second silent films created by beauty vloggers, with the products used in the tutorial accompanying the video. In other words, it lets customers not only watch the makeup tutorials but actively try them along with the vloggers.
There’s also a digital community wall and “ad campaigns” created by “ambassadors” in the company’s Los Angeles studio; the vloggers do their own makeup in the photo shoots and make recommendations on how the products might best be worn, rather than the reverse. And each month the stores will host meet-ups with popular beauty bloggers.
Kristo, a long-time veteran of the beauty industry and of NYX parent company L’Oréal (which bought the brand in 2014), said the pace of trends, thanks to the global reach of social media, is almost immediate worldwide. In addition to the California stores, NYX opened stores in Toronto, Madrid and Milan, and Kristo said the following in those cities was as enthusiastic as in the States.
Chief executive officer Scott Friedman, also in town for the event, praised this new chapter for the brand. “We are proud to be able to create a space where fans can come play, learn and share their love for NYX Professional Makeup.”
In addition to the stand-alone stores, NYX Cosmetics is available in more than 70 countries at specialty beauty and fashion stores, freestanding shops and beauty supply stores, as well as online. The brand plans to continue expanding nationally and globally, with plans for New Jersey and Northern California stores in the works over the next few months.