Why D2C brand Glossier is returning to in-person retail

D2C brand Glossier gets back into in-person retail with experiential, Insta-friendly stores.

Glossier’s new Los Angeles store is a millennial pink, marble-ensconced paradise made for Instagram and TikTok.

But why, after closing all its in-person outposts amid the pandemic, is the D2C beauty brand returning to physical retail?

It’s all about the experience

Online sales increased 32.4% YoY in 2020 and were up 39% in Q1 2021, per Digital Commerce 360.

But several digital-first brands, including Allbirds and Warby Parker, think they can get shoppers back off their couches.

“Consumers aren’t looking to visit stores simply to transact — they’re hungry for meaningful and memorable experiences that can’t be recreated online,” Kristy Maynes, Glossier’s SVP of retail, told The Hustle.

Glossier’s new Seattle location saw 35k+ visitors in its 1st 2 months. It also features a mossy mushroom sculpture that Instagammers love.

Its LA store, which opens Thursday, is a hangout spot with:

  • Seating around a chrome globe fountain
  • WiFi and AC
  • An alleyway with a 2nd fountain and coffee shop

Why bother? Because consumers are also hybrid shoppers

Many customers now use and expect multiple channels, online and off, to make a purchase.

For Glossier, that might mean customers sample products in-store, make purchase decisions online, then return for a pickup and a coffee. Or maybe they research products online, then test and buy them in store.

It worked for Allbirds, which found its hybrid customers spent 1.5x more.

Also pink: The LA store is a half-mile from the Pink Wall, an inexplicable tourist attraction that, as of 2019, cost fashion brand Paul Smith $60k a year in upkeep.

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