SK-II ushers in the future of retail with a “smart store” in Shanghai

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

SK-II ushers in the future of retail with a “smart store” in Shanghai
Luxury skin care brand SK-II has harnessed state-of-the-art technology to launch China’s first smart beauty store to provide consumers with highly-personalised self-shopping experience.

The unveiling of the new SK-II Future X Smart Store, located in Shanghai’s fashion and art department store, K-11, comes after its successful launch in Tokyo, which garnered overwhelming response from consumers and media alike.

Connecting and informing

The innovative store employs high-tech toys such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) to refresh the brick-and-mortar experience for its Chinese consumers by offering an intimate, immersive and personalised shopping experience with the help of an algorithm.

Visitors can connect with the brand by taking part in its “The Art of You” experience. This showcase is a large-scale digital wall which generates art pieces by reading facial expressions and body movement.

Different expressions correlate to different colour themes while eye blink trigger movement of energy lines across the screen. The result is a personal, one-of-a-kind art piece.

To help consumers learn more about the brand’s famous Facial Treatment Essence, the smart store houses a Miracle Water Lab, which provides visitors with an immersive education on the effects of SK-II’s signature product.

“In shifting our focus to bring innovation to consumers around the shopping experience versus product technology, SK-II is leading the way to create a new model for how we build and evolve our relationship with our consumers in China and globally,” ​said Sandeep Seth, Chief Executive Officer of SK-II Global.

Personalised and seamless shopping

To personalise each visitor’s self-shopping experience, the smart store utilises a proprietary SK-II skin scan, which is a reinvention of SK-II’s iconic Magic Ring Skin Analysis.

Unlike other skin scanners, which require direct contact with the skin, SK-II’s intelligent machine scans consumers while they are sitting comfortable in a booth, ensuring the lowest level of invasiveness as possible.

Making purchases is equally intuitive and effortless. With the help of a specially designed bracelet, consumers can purchase products just waving this wearable tech on a scanner, eliminating the need to log on to a mobile application.

“SK-II is a brand built on deep science and innovation, which is why we’re thrilled to build an experience that aims to push boundaries within the retail and beauty industries,” said Seth.

“Given the state of the retail landscape today, we see a great opportunity to adapt to new shopping behaviors and redefine the role of both product sales and beauty counsellors with our personalised approach.”

Smart packaging

The innovation does not stop on site. Consumers will be able to purchase the Facial Treatment Essence in a special high-tech bottle from the Shanghai site.

The Facial Treatment Essence Smart Bottle harnesses the capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance consumer experience through a companion app designed to guide consumers through using the Facial Treatment Essence.

Future of brick-and-mortar

The brand’s foray into retail innovation proves that brick-and-mortar stores can be rejuvenated with intelligent and creative innovations to connect with today’s digital savvy consumers.

Not only can such innovations create more meaningful engagements with consumers, but also collect real-time data which will allow companies to learn more about consumer behaviour.

In a statement the company said: “Real-time insights and feedback collected will not only inform the future of brick and mortar retail, but help to reimagine the power of data and technology to augment a consumer’s journey with a brand for a truly omni-channel experience.”

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