Mossy hills and mushrooms in Seattle, airplane window mirrors and jet-inspired decor in DC, and oversized products and signage in Los Angeles are just a few samples of Glossier’s unique approach to retail. The brand is known for its simple products, beautiful packaging, and stellar customer service. But over the years, its Instagram-worthy retail has started to steal the spotlight, especially as the brand has begun relying on it as an alternative to major marketing campaigns and partnerships. Undoubtedly, Glossier’s stores have become exponentially valuable to its growth and success, perhaps now more than ever.

Glossier’s stores help the brand create meaningful relationships with customers.

The purpose of its stores goes far beyond transactions to creating meaningful connections with customers. Kyle Leahy, CEO of Glossier, said, “Our stores are just one part of our omnichannel strategy, but they’re incredibly important, both as a key element of our differentiated customer experience and a profitable growth channel for us. As a beauty brand, giving customers the options to trial products in real-time, make their own swatches, and spark beauty discovery, are all reasons why we continue to believe in retail as a key lever for our business.”

The brand currently has eight locations, including Williamsburg, which opened earlier this month. On opening day, it hosted a block party with food trucks, a DJ, and local vendors from the community. At one point, 600 people were in line, and sales hit about $76,000, which shattered the brand’s previous record by $13,000. This success solidified what was already clear to the brand – stores are valuable.

The store experience creates loyal customers, which is vital in this economy.

In today’s economy, some may feel that brands should sacrifice stores to cut costs, but in doing so, they will likely lose sales. These physical locations are more than transactional touchpoints; they’re marketing channels known to acquire high-value customers at arguably lower acquisition costs than some online methods. “Overall, my prediction is that shoppers will be increasingly selective with where they spend their dollars—consumers will value emotional connections with brands even more than they do now,” shared Leahy, adding, “our stores’ people-first approach to beauty, and attention to community and exploration, will resonate with shoppers deeply who are looking for a sense of connection with the brands they’re giving time and money to.”

There’s something to say about brand loyalty and how having a physical store may create a connection so strong that customers will choose to return even in the toughest of times.

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Omnichannel is the future, and retail is a valuable part of that.

Earlier this year, Glossier laid off a portion of its employees. Like many companies that experienced hardship during the pandemic, it had to make some changes. It reorganized and shifted its focus towards omnichannel, which includes retail, e-commerce, and, more recently, a wholesale partnership with Sephora. “We are laser-focused on our core DNA as a beauty brand: Glossier launched with a vision to change how the world sees beauty, and this vision remains the same. One of the most impactful ways we can further this vision, and maintain meaningful touchpoints with consumers, is through experiential retail,” said Leahy.

The brand will be opening another location in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City early next year and expressed a desire to continue bringing locations to people worldwide. It will also be available in Sephora in the US and Canada in early 2023.

There are a lot of digital brands opening retail stores in this economy. A great example is Leap, which launches and operates stores on behalf of brands. The company announced $50 million in funding earlier this year and has nearly 100 locations open across 60 brands, with many more on the way. It also recently shared plans to partner with landlords like Simon and Rohrer. But what’s notable about Glossier’s stores, in addition to being physical touchpoints for customers, is their remarkable designs, making them valuable marketing tools. Therefore, the brand’s definition of stores is unique, but one that could easily be, and perhaps should be, universally adopted over the coming years.

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