Choosing a new lipstick will never be the same again. The new Shuiyangtang store which opened in Changsa, in China’s Hunan province, earlier this month, will change the way we shop for beauty and will also attract millions of visitors due to its immersive way of selling it. With the help of your own ‘beauty butler’, for example, you’ll find just the right shade of eyeshadow and by entering into a decorative ‘forest’, you’ll discover the healing power of plants. It’s an immersive way of offering an in-person shopping experience for products that make you look and feel better.
The vast new shop – it stretches across 3,200sq ft – is the first bricks-and-mortar site for S’Young International – a brand owner and major distributor for international beauty companies across China. At a cost of $10m, the retail emporium is described as an ‘interactive advanced retail ecosystem’ and is found in Changsa – known as China’s ‘media capital city’. The store is located in International Finance Square (IFS) – a high-end shopping destination, which sees an average 1.2 million customers flow through it each day.
Shuiyangtang merges S’Young’s advanced online capabilities with an offline – and hands-on – experience. The aim? To elevate beauty into an art-form and to invite Chinese customers to discover a line-up of cult and international brands – such as EviDenS de Beaute, Cellex-C, Pier Auge, Margaret Dabbs, Revitalash, Amouage, Xerjoff, Natasha Denona and Zelens.
The store may be constructed out of bricks, but S’Young International has also built on its digital technology. Customers, therefore, are offered an AI beauty test to discover their skin type and to match them with products in-store that best suit. Once the results of the AI test are ready, customers will be matched with a dedicated ‘beauty butler’, who will recommend the perfect products for them.
Merging the offline and online experience, customers can also scan QR codes to shop products online at Shuiyangtang’s e-commerce platforms on Tmall Global, Douyin (China’s TikTok) and WeChat, to blend the convenience of online shopping with the need to test products in person.
Once in-store, you can wander around four distinct areas. With digital artworks and interactive installations, the Elite Choice area is a pop-up section for brands to showcase their story, as well as a space to highlight the top skincare and beauty products selected by each customer. (The shop can use real consumption data to personalize the experience further.)
In the Formulation Lab, customers will find an experiential space for skincare and beauty products with a display wall featuring product videos and imagery from major brands from across the world. The area also has a decorative forest feature where you can delve into the attributes and age-old wisdom garnered from the natural world.
The Perfume Gallery, meanwhile, offers a multi-sensory fragrance testing space with hundreds of niche salon fragrances to be picked off the display wall.
Dream Dresser, on the other hand, taps into the world of beauty influencers. It is based around a dressing table conceit, and features high-end, cult overseas brands for customers to try. With adjustable lighting, and tablets providing information on each brand, the dresser provides consumers the chance oto ‘step into’ the life of a beauty blogger.
To celebrate the opening, S’Young is hosting Genesis of Beauty – 100 Years of Beauty Collection, described as ‘the world’s most exclusive beauty exhibition’. On display are some 71,000 pieces, including rare beauty and cosmetics items sourced from collectors around the world. It will also feature a ‘Fragrant Mist’ Art Installation created by British fragrance pioneer Jo Malone CBE and celebrated Asian Artist Mr. Lee Seung Koo, founder of DDINGGU Art IP.
Marshall Chen, co-founder and CEO of S’Young International comments: “Our goal is to bring beauty to life in a fun and innovative way and the S’Young team created this best-in-class exhibition out of love. We look forward to seeing the future of the beauty industry continue to lead the way in China. We want to help every consumer discover their most confident self through the fun, interactive vision of Shuiyangtang… This is the future of beauty.”
Genesis of Beauty – 100 Years of Beauty Collection will run for three months from 1 September to 30 November 2022