Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Clinique's "Service As You Like It" Comes to Vancouver

Something pretty cool has arrived at The Bay in downtown Vancouver, and I think makeup and skincare lovers will agree with me when they see Clinique's new concept, "Service as you like it". The old Clinique counter at The Bay has been redesigned to deliver a unique experience to today's savvy shoppers.

With the arrival of the internet, consumer review sites like MakeUpAlley, and countless makeup blogs (ahem), I think the kind of experience we are looking for in a beauty counter is very different from our moms and grandmothers; we are better informed and more skeptical. Where previous generations might have listened closely while an SA explains a fantastic new eyeshadow, we're already thinking, pfft, Temptalia said it's chalky crap. (Not that people don't want to listen to SAs anymore, just that we have more sources of information readily available.) The new Clinique counter is created with consumers like me in mind, who prefer to explore products on their own, while still offering the full support and customer experience of a traditional beauty counter. 

(click to enlarge)
Here's a photo from Clinique's PR so you get an idea of just how amazing the new 1000-square foot Clinique space looks. It's bright (although not as super-bright as shown here) and is set up just like the photo.

You can start off by putting on a rubber band to communicate exactly the type of service to Clinique's consultants without ever saying a word. Green says you're someone that is looking to chat and get a full consultation. Pink says you'd like to browse mostly on your own and a consultant will only check in with you once in a while. White says you're in a rush and you know what you're looking for. I did find that while wearing the pink bracelet and walking around, consultants generally left me alone and only offered help if I was approaching them or made eye contact. It works!

I'd like to keep this bracelet to wear to other beauty counters! @__@

Small baskets are available for you to tote around and fill with Clinique products at your leisure. Like the pink band, it tells staff you're browsing, but also that you would like to be left alone.

Remember those Clinique sliders you played with to figure out your skin type and the right skin care line? Here's the next step up: a 90-second guided self-service questionnaire to recommend products to suit your needs, available on iPads located in several stations around the space. This photo is from the end of my questionnaire and recaps my answers before suggesting products.

The recommendations are broken down into different areas of concern, as well as daily care. You can check off which products you'd like to grab at the moment and print or email yourself the full list. (The iPad is oriented horizontally because I did it again at a different station for photos.)

Your recommendations can be printed out on a something like a receipt, but the paper is much more durable. I really love the printing/emailing option. Usually if something catches my eye, I'd have to note down the product in my phone or take a picture to remember research it later; it is so much more convenient to be able to email an entire list like this to myself. It's also nice to refer to while you are browsing.

There is a brightly-lit nook displaying eight best-selling products. I was pleased to learn these are the regional best sellers; it really gives you an idea of what the Vancouver market's tastes are. If you're curious, they are: (1) Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, (2) Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (one of my first skin care products!), (3) Take The Day Off Makeup Remover, (4) Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, (5) 7 Day Scrub Cream, (6) Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector, (7) All About Eyes Serum, and (8) Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector

This counter is the first Clinique in North America to feature both English and Chinese in its signage and displays, and even has a separate Asia Best Sellers display. Vancouver has a huge Chinese population that will definitely appreciate this detail, which shows Clinique is really paying attention.

Testers everywhere! The new counter really encourages you to play with the products and sets it up so you can happily do so on your own.

I feel almost too excited about their mascara testers. Unlike other places which have only generic mascara wands available to use with their tester mascaras, Clinique provides the same wands that come with the actual mascara. I think we sometimes forget that the wand is a major component to how a mascara applies and wears, and it's very cool that Clinique remembered this detail. If you test a mascara here, you can really see how it works before you buy.

Unlike some counters which hide away their non-tester products (and in a recent experience, express annoyance when you open a drawer on your own), the clear drawers here make it easy for you to grab an unopened product yourself. Clinique's setup really makes it possible for you to do everything on your own. Although consultants are always around to provide assistance, the only time you would really have to interact with one is when you go up to pay for your purchases.

Last photo is this super cute display, an oversized Chubby Stick that holds actual Chubby Sticks :>

Overall, I'm extremely impressed and genuinely excited about all of the thought and details Clinique has put into designing this new counter. The space is very inviting and fun, and the gorgeous, modern look doesn't hurt either. I wish more beauty counters were like this! What do you think of Clinique's new "Service as you like it"? What colour band would you wear?

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