Middle Eastern luxury retailer Chalhoub Group’s multi-brand beauty concept Faces – erstwhile Wojooh – recently reopened in Mall of the Emirates.
With the adoption of Faces as the brand name, the store concept also underwent significant transformation. The signage now reads Faces in English and Wojooh in Arabic calligraphy interlaced with it. The rebranded Faces stores sport a new look and feel. Following a hybrid approach to make the customer experience seamless, the Faces store is highly experiential and digitally enabled.
“Faces is a 20-year old concept that has evolved with time,” states Salem Kaissi, general manager of Faces. “This is the newest and trendiest version of Faces that talks to the new-age customers – millennials in particular – in their preferred language. The colours used are vibrant, rendering the store environment more inviting. The store size, spanning over 4,900 sqft, is the same as earlier yet seems more open, owing to the elevated ceilings and category placement.”
There are two entrances to the Faces store in Mall of the Emirates from both sides. The digital touchpoints placed on either side like funnels are eye-catching and attract traffic into the store. “New brands from Beauty Nation – an exclusive concept at Faces – is placed at the entrance of the store, as customers are keen to see new and exclusive products,” Kaissi points out. “Next to Beauty Nation is our private label Wow by Wojooh, which is performing exceptionally well across the region. Then comes our multi-brand make-up area, with the Magic Mirror being the focal point.”
One of the digital highlights in the Mall of the Emirates store, the Magic Mirror allows customers to try on pre-defined looks based on mood, activity and occasions. It helps customers to virtually experiment 10 different looks, based on the selection criteria. It is highly social, wherein the user can share the look with friends. What’s more, the product recommendations made in a manner that offers a complete set of products from different brands to complete the preferred look.
At the heart of the Faces, the store is the fragrance section. “The fragrance area, split into two parts, one dedicated to niche perfumes and the other to the hero brands,” Kaissi elaborates. “The niche section offers a choice in unique fragrances for the connoisseurs available only at select distribution touchpoints. The hero brands satiate the appetite of those who prefer the more widely used line of products. The lounge area, located at the centre of the fragrance section, is where our customers can sit and relax while making their purchase decisions.”
“There is a digital touchpoint in the fragrance section, called the Fragrance Finder that helps consumers to make the right choice of fragrance either for their personal use or for gifting,” he adds. “By providing a few preference details, the customer can access four suggestions made by the Fragrance Finder algorithm.”
Another exciting digital touchpoint called The Test Bar follows the fragrance section. This RFID technology-enabled area offers customers a view into brands and products, rotated every month. Every product displayed at The Test Bar comes with a sensor that displays product information, the moment it is picked up by a consumer. Customers can also watch video tutorials suggesting the right way to use the product, a feature that is genuinely hybrid bridging the physical-digital divide. “Faces is the first brand in the region to use this technology, which helps us to gauge the time spent by a customer on browsing a product, the most popular products, and so on. In turn, these crucial pieces of information are shared with the brands,” Kaissi reveals.
Another digital touchpoint is the Gift Wizard, wherein the algorithm proposes products based on the questionnaire that the shopper answers. It makes the gifting process much more comfortable.
During the renovation process, one of the biggest learnings, according to Kaissi, is how merchandising has evolved. The product categorisation done at the Faces store allows friction-less movement of customers within the store. “We broke the rules, treating brands based on relevance and not categories. The new format offers certain icon brands larger space for presentation. Then there are the semi-personalised star brands followed by the more generic hero brands. This method of categorisation, high on aesthetics and visual impact, has been appreciated by the brands and customers alike,” he concludes.