Innisfree revamps its in-store experience in China

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Innisfree revamps its in-store experience in China
Improving the experiential experience for shoppers in the leading APAC nation, Innisfree teams ups with Alibaba to introduce new technology and apply the New Retail business model.

Korean cosmetics giant, Innisfree, has entered into a digital revitalisation plan in China. Its Hangzhou store, in particular, is introducing New Retail features to boost its position as a dominating beauty brand.

The New Retail store now contains an assortment of interactive technologies provided by Alibaba's Tmall, a business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail website.

A new business model

Designed to make shopping easier, more enjoyable and match rapidly changing consumer needs, Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma first established the New Retail business model in 2016.

New Retail utilises technology to bring together the individual strengths and popularity of offline physical in-store shopping with online interactive experiences. By merging the two, Alibaba hopes to create “one comprehensive channel to benefit consumers and brands”​.

Striving to benefit both customers and merchants, it offers fun, lively and convenient buying options for the former and holistic and rich insights into customers' buying preferences for the latter. With this invaluable information, brands are then able to develop more insightful marketing strategies, campaigns and product formulations.

“Brands that remain fashionable over time are those which best understand consumer behaviour, and that is why we think New Retail is so important for businesses in the future,”​ revealed Mike Hu, the president of Tmall Fast-Moving Consumer Goods.

A revitalised image

Hailed as 'Innisfree x Tmall New Retail Store', its Hangzhou store uses games, entertainment, education and personalised offerings to promote its new makeover.

“Tmall’s technology and experience will undoubtedly play a vital role in formulating our New Retail layout in the Chinese market,”​ emphasised Filipp Cai, general manager of Innisfree China.

“We have introduced digital, entertainment and interactive technologies in our physical stores, merged online and offline membership and enhanced consumer insights through upgrading our stores.”

What does New Retail look like? 

There are a number of features that appear in New Retail stores to encourage engagement and interaction from a customer perspective.

  • Magic Mirror

Augmented-reality (AR) technology enables customers to try out various make up options virtually. Beauty buyers can then purchase in-store, order immediately from Innisfree's flagship store or scan a QR code with their Mobile Taobao app.

  • Smart Skin Analyser

Customers can place a high-precision camera on various parts of the face, which then analyses these images and instantaneously generates an in-depth report of their skin condition. A QR code can then be scanned and a detailed report outlining ideal products is then produced.

  • Vending Machine

Using the Taobao app, shoppers can scan a QR code, receive discounts and make their purchases.  

  • Smart Shelf

In-store displays contain a sensor-equipped shelf that reveals product details on a touchscreen. Once they have picked up a product, customers can learn more, before buying.

  • Cloud Shelf

If physical stores have limited space, brands can activate this technology, which allows customers to see all of the brand's product portfolio on the Innisfree Tmall flagship store, not only those available at the physical store.

  • AR Interactive Photo Booth

Brand members can take photos through the AR interactive big screen. Utilising influencer marketing, Innisfree’s brand ambassadors, Chinese boy band Nine Percent, are also present.

  • Claw Crane

Scanning the QR code on the machine enables shoppers to enter Innisfree’s membership programme and win three tries at grabbing a free sample.


Commenting on the partnership between Innisfree and Alibaba, Danielle Bailey, the head of APAC at the New York research firm L2 states: “This is really a case of two innovators coming together.”​ 

With over 500 stores in China, Bailey also adds that Innisfree will be “super-powered”, ​highlighting the importance and ability of innisfree to use social media platforms and influencer marketing through Korean celebrities, successfully.

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