Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hudson's Bay Yorkdale - A Whole New Retail Experience

Today, I had the delightful privilege of joining Shelley Rozenwald, HBC's Chief Beauty Adventurer (how cool is this title?!), and some fellow bloggers at Hudson's Bay at Yorkdale Shopping Mall for a guided tour through the new Beauty Hall that has just opened.

I'm no stranger to Yorkdale and had been to the department store a handful of times during renovations, but naturally, certain areas were partitioned off and weren't accessible, so to see the whole floor in all its glory was quite literally awesome. I was in actual awe of the sheer size of the beauty floor, as it actually went on much farther than I could see.

Chanel counter

The entire concept of the revamped Beauty Hall is hyper-focused on increasing the amount of time spent at the counter whenever possible, and personally, I'm a lingerer, so I ain't mad at it. The idea is that consumers can choose to engage further either with an automated guide (on iPads or large touchscreen system installed at certain counters) or an actual beauty specialist in order to properly assess their needs and desires pertaining to skincare, fragrance and colour cosmetics.

Dior counter
As a beauty fiend, I actually never really am an in-and-out or grab-and-go type of person when it comes to store visits. I'm all about the conversation that can unfold with different associates that I come in contact with throughout the department, so this setup is right up my alley, but the option to make a quick purchase is always there for anyone who prefers to keep to themselves, and brand logos are easy to spot all over the place in order to figure out precisely where you want to wander on the floor.

Clarins counter
Shelley guided us to the fragrance area and I was instantly infatuated by the way the fragrance department has been set up. Brands have dedicated areas (that I rapidly dubbed "fragrance nooks") that act as very small but very real fragrance shops, displaying a full array of fragrances available from the brand. In the Narciso Rodriguez nook, there was a set-up of essential oils that are central to the Narciso Rodriguez fragrances. This was reminiscent of the Chanel Les Exclusifs set-up at Holts Yorkdale and Bloor, so I definitely had an appreciation for the direction that Hudson's Bay is moving in as far as fragrance interaction goes.

Narciso Rodriguez fragrance nook
Hudson's Bay fragrance department
Thierry Mugler fragrance nook
Viktor & Rolf fragrance nook
In addition increasing the amount of time consumers spend at the counter, Hudson's Bay has cabines that can be booked for services with different brands. How great is that?! Fun secret: the Shiseido counter is actually equipped with their own cabine at the counter that's used for complimentary facials. Complimentary. Facials. You read that right.
Cabine space for services
New brands introduced to the HBC Beauty Hall include Giorgio Armani (yes!!!), Illamasqua (an absolute curveball, but welcomed nonetheless!), Bobbi Brown (Shimmer Bricks are essential), Anna Sui (the counter is modeled after Anna's Paris apartment) and Shu Uemura (Tokyo beauty at its finest).

Illamasqua counter
What did I conclude after exploring the 20,000 square feet of beauty retail space that I can probably alternately refer to as heaven on earth? That Hudson's Bay is absolutely bringing something back to beauty retail and that's a more full service shopping experience that is designed to be interactive and enjoyable while converting consumers into lifelong brand fans.

...and I'm here for that.

all images provided by Hudson's Bay Company

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