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New Clarins boutique: 100% phygital and 200% eco-designed

In June 2021, Clarins opened a unique boutique at 45 rue Vieille du Temple in Paris. Located in the trendy Marais district, it offers a very different customer experience than other stores. Clarins has opted for eco-design. In addition to specific materials, the store also features the group’s first perfume refill station. Finally, the store is a showcase for phygital, a forerunner of what tomorrow’s retail can do to win back customers’ hearts.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

First impressions

A feeling of harmony and serenity emanates from the store when you first enter. The store is very bright and gives pride of place to beautiful materials.

The window display, in particular, is remarkable. It is primarily used to communicate the ingredients (only 2-3 products in the window). The store also has many screens to display visual messages related to the brand. One of them shows, for example, where the plants used in the products are grown. Some of the plants come directly from the Clarins estate and are identified thanks to a logo on the products concerned.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

Most of the window is occupied by jars containing the plants used by Clarins for these products. This strong message conveys the brand’s “natural” values.

Eco-design, the trademark of this Clarins boutique

After the first visual discovery, you have to open your eyes to understand the subtlety of the design. I would like to thank Fanny for her explanations and perfect knowledge of each detail. Without explanations, it isn’t easy to understand the efforts made to make this store a model of eco-design.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

Of course, the plants in the window give a clue, but discovering the other facets is worthwhile. We note thus:

  • the floor is made from recycled marble debris and cast in a resin (the effect is impressive)
  • the use of beech wood, chosen for its fast growth and coming from French eco-managed forests
  • the replacement of gluing by steaming to make the wood waterproof
  • the realization of the furniture in krion k-life resin, which contributes to the purification of the air in contact with the light

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

Eco-design is the submerged part of the iceberg. The visible part is the phygital, and it is the subject of the next paragraph. And to make the transition, what better way than to talk about the perfume charging station. This “zero waste” device aligns with the times and echoes a practice I had already observed at Guerlain long ago. Clarins adds a “techno” dimension.

The refill station for eau dynamisante and eau ressourçante

If zero waste and “refill” have become very common in food retail, it is much rarer in luxury. Perhaps the image attached to refills is not premium enough. Clarins was able to break the codes and make the refill a high-end experience. The machine used (which was not developed by Clarins) can be used to refill 2 references: the Eau Dynamisante and the Eau Ressourçante.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

The ceremony is well-trained to ensure that the filling experience aligns with Clarins’ positioning. After filling, a few manual steps are taken to “finish” the bottle and personalize it with a ribbon.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

Clarins’ concept store: ultra phygital

While the charging station is a technological device, it can’t be called a phygital device. Customers cannot interact with the machine.

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

Nevertheless, there are still many truly phygital opportunities at the point of sale. Customers will be able to try:

  • a device I hadn’t seen anywhere else yet that allows you to “feel” the different levels of pressure to be applied according to skincare
  • the virtual make-up via a QR code (this has become quite common during the Covid, but it is still outstanding)

Clarins 45 rue vieille du Temple Paris (Marais)

To conclude

Clarins’ latest outlet is a real success, both aesthetically and technologically. The icing on the cake is the quality of the customer service. Fanny, who received me and guided me through the store, was perfect. I would like to thank her here.

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Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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