Condé Nast’s Allure magazine is opening its first store on Thursday, but the publisher isn’t aiming to compete with the likes of Sephora and Ulta.
“We really think of the Allure store as media on the ground,” said outgoing editor-in-chief Michelle Lee in a conversation with Condé Nast’s global head of eCommerce merchandise and branded property, Tricia Ruane, during the BoF Professional Summit about the future of post-pandemic retail held on Wednesday.
For the publisher, that means the store will be successful if: it introduces new readers to the Allure universe, which includes monthly print issues, its website, podcasts and videos; it attracts an audience to in-store events like masterclasses and panels; and if visitors discuss the store on social media. The store will also bolster the publication’s relationship with beauty brands that advertise through its platforms by offering them data on how shoppers interact with their products, both physically and through smart mirrors and scannable codes on tables that lead to more information and reviews about the brands and products featured in the space.
Located on the corner of Broome and Lafayette in Soho, the Allure store will open with 270 products from 170 brands Including Bobbi Brown, Neutrogena, Live Tinted, La Roche-Posay and Dermalogica across skin care, hair products and body care. The space will feature the winning products from the magazine’s annual Best of Beauty Awards and Reader’s Choice Awards, as well as a wall of products curated by its editors. Other product displays will be themed around stories Allure has published about different trends and categories.
“You can only be in the store if you’ve been in the magazine,” said Ruane. “That’s our test, that checkpoint, to make sure that [the products are] editor-approved.”
The Allure store is also something of a physical extension of the magazine’s subscription beauty box, which launched in 2012 and offers readers a mix of six full-size and sample size products to try each month.
As Condé Nast aims to find ways to generate more revenue directly from consumers as advertising revenue declines, projects like the Allure store and the Allure Beauty Box are key.
It’s a concept the media conglomerate will likely employ further going forward: Ruane said the Allure store format is adaptable to the publisher’s other brands, including Bon Appétit and The New Yorker.
“As a company, we are really driving forward branded properties,” she said. “We’re exploring hotels, more retail, more restaurants and bars: property really is a focus for us right now.”