Clinique revamps approach

Clinique Laboratories believes its new 'open-service' retailing formula will revolutionize the way cosmetics are sold in department stores.On Aug. 30, the Toronto-based company unveiled the first Clinique boutique in North America to be designed without - as is typical of cosmetics...

Clinique Laboratories believes its new ‘open-service’ retailing formula will revolutionize the way cosmetics are sold in department stores.

On Aug. 30, the Toronto-based company unveiled the first Clinique boutique in North America to be designed without – as is typical of cosmetics boutiques – a counter separating the customer from the sales attendant and products.

Consultation areas

Instead, the new boutique, located in the high traffic The Bay department store at the corner of Yonge and Queen Streets in Toronto, is designed with several areas set aside for consultation purposes or for the display of specific product lines.

Lynn Chambers, director of marketing for Clinique, says the design is intended to cast the cosmetics consumer in a more active role during shopping.

Since there is no physical barrier, customers can walk directly into the boutique, peruse the products, pick what they want and pay for it.

By way of contrast, the design of the traditional boutique casts the shopper in a passive role- largely dependent on a sales attendant for contact with the products.

Assertiveness

Chambers says the open-service concept flows naturally from the increasing assertiveness of women in the 1990s, an assertiveness that can be traced not only to the reality that most women today work outside the home, but also to the fact that they have increasingly higher levels of education and work responsibility.

Over the next 18 months, Clinique, which is a subsidiary of Estee Lauder Cosmetics of New York, will open six additional redesigned boutiques in key department stores across the country.

More are expected to follow, but the company, which operates 280 boutiques in Canada, admits not all of its outlets will be subjected to the carpenter’s hammer.

Depending on the demographics of their customer base, some boutiques, particularly those in rural areas with a relatively low percentage of career working women, will be left as is.