Casual brows

  • Opinion
  • November 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Casual brows

As competition hots up between internationals and local brands in the beauty category, NZ Retail and The Register editor and associate publisher Sarah Dunn considers what comes next.



“Welcome to Sephora,” said a staff member waiting by the store’s front door. “Can I help you with anything today?”
“Just browsing, thanks,” I replied.
“That’s great!” she responded enthusiastically. “Over to your right is the Benefit display, they’ve got some of our most popular brow products and you’re welcome to experiment with any that take your fancy.”
Mix-ups between eyebrows and browsing aside, the new Sephora outlet on Queen St is a really interesting proposition. Like Farmers’ recently-opened flagship at Westfield Newmarket, service is an integral part of what it offers – engaged, authoritative service from staff who live and breathe the brand.
The other point that these spaces have in common is opportunities for customers to feel at home in the stores. Instead of focusing in on the sale, Sephora creates an environment where shoppers are enticed into increasing their dwell time. They can play and experiment with the product, find out the answers to any questions they have about it, and then when they’re ready, they can drift to the counter.
I wasn’t in a buying mood when I visited, but the friend who accompanied me emerged with a full face of expertly-applied make-up and a bag of products. 
Farmers isn’t letting the French multinational take over New Zealand’s beauty category without a fight, however. Its beautiful flagship is home to the largest beauty offer of its kind in the Farmers chain, and includes its own row of interactive benches and mirrors for customers to “try before they buy”. 
The Warehouse Group, too, has recently launched a very competitive marketplace-style ecommerce offer that encompasses everything from eyeshadow to ironing boards. TheMarket lets retailers manage their own price promotions, stock and shipping while providing group customer services and a standardised customer experience.
While international retailers are still launching left, right and centre in New Zealand’s metropolitan areas, New Zealand retailers of every scale are leveraging their home advantage to produce innovative business ideas that satisfy customers’ needs. 
The NZ Retail team and friends took an evening to recognise the ongoing vitality of the Kiwi retail industry on September 26 with our Gem Retail Hotlist awards. Our editorial staff selected 55 finalists, from which a panel of industry judges chose 18 winners.
In a tough category like retail, you don’t need our acclaim to know that your business is special – your customers show their appreciation every day by continuing to spend their hard-earned cash with you, and that’s the most important recognition of all. 
But if you did make the list of winners or finalists, we hope you’ve taken the opportunity to pat yourself on the back and share a little love with your team. Take a moment to celebrate your achievement – we’ll be cheering you on.

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 764 October/November 2019.

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Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

  • News
  • December 12, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

Our 'Best provincial retailer: South Island' award was hotly contested in the Gem Retail Hotlist, but in the end, it was Nelson jeweller Benjamin Black that won. Find out more about this boutique craft jeweller.

Read more

The retail diary: December / January

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
The retail diary: December / January

The Register and NZ Retail team has rounded up retail-relevant events and important dates for December and January.

Read more

Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Makayla Wallace-Tidd
Kiwis predicted to spend more on Christmas than Australians

New research has found that Kiwis will be spending up large on Christmas in 2019 while Australians will be taking a more conservative approach to the Christmas budget. However, Kiwis are still focused on trying to lower their Christmas spending, and retailers have been warned to keep pricing strategies transparent.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

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Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

  • News
  • December 11, 2019
  • Catherine Murray
Gem Retail Hotlist: Allbirds' Tim Brown is our Retail Visionary

In the Gem Retail Hotlist, 'Retail Visionary' is one of our most special awards. This year we awarded it to Tim Brown of Allbirds. Here's the scoop on this innovative sneaker brand.

Read more

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