City Pulse

By Allison Warenik-Queenan

Does the traditional department store cosmetic counter really work anymore for today’s shopper? Product is kept practically out of sight, in a drawer behind a counter, with a glass barrier separating you from your potential cosmetics purchase. Sometimes there are testers on the counter or sometimes we only get to see the product in a glass case. And one always has to fend off a pushy commission-based employee. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to freely test and touch a product, with no salesperson looming over you (unless of course you wanted one to help you)? Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to browse?

Introducing the new Clinique counter at Lord & Taylor! Clinique’s shopping concept breaks down the traditional “do not touch” department store cosmetics experience and transforms it into one that is shopper friendly, informative and ergomatic. First thing one notices is the open and inviting layout; the shopper is encouraged to step inside to browse. Now based on ones individual needs, there are many ways to approach cosmetics and skin care shopping. Clinique offers a full service one-on-one skin care and cosmetics consultation for those who want a full interactive experience with a Clinique expert. Or one can pick up a basket for complete self-service. The sign about the baskets actually states, “carry a basket and we’ll leave you alone”. Of course help is always nearby should it be needed. All of the testers are at eye level and are at an accessible height. Products are easily found in the drawers below the testers. There are lots of tissues, cotton balls and Q-tips, encouraging everyone to test and play. Other helpful structures within the layout are curated walls and counters in which one can quickly and easily grab things like “Top Ten Sellers”, “Men’s Products” and seasonal “Trend” products.

Finally, there is the computer guided self-service. Clinique’s Diagnostic Computer analyses ones skin care needs in only 90 seconds. There are 180,000 different possible combinations of product, selected for specific skin types and concerns. At the end of the 90-second session, a checklist is printed out stating of all the products that are recommended for the user. A Consultant can help with locating the products. Or, with the holidays approaching, what a great little gift cheat sheet to pass along to the husband, boyfriend or parents. I have been using my recommended Clinique products for the past two week and am loving how well suited they are for me. (Note: The All About Eye’s Concealer might just be the best concealer I have ever used in my life.)

I do recommend stopping by Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue to personally experience this breakthrough in beauty shopping. And please feel free to play with colors, play with the Diagnostic Computer and browse, browse, browse!

Lord & Taylor
424 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street

Originally published November 2010
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