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L’Oréal: its first concept store in Shanghai that offers its customers a phygital experience

Céline Delacharlerie
4 minutes

L’Oréal has opened its first concept store in Shanghai. This phygital store mixes the real experience with a digital one thanks to a mini-program found on the Chinese must-have application: weChat.

SuperApp WeChat
L’Oréal is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its slogan “Because You’re Worth It” with the first time opening of a concept store. The new store is located in Shanghai, in the city’s most commercial district. 

What makes this concept store special? Its experience that mixes real life and digital. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic, China is experiencing an expansion of e-commerce as people have favored online shopping, which is hurting retail. In order to attract customers, L’Oréal has created a unique experience that combines the “offline” with the “online”.

Throughout the visit, L’Oréal offers various activities such as cycling through the streets of Paris, getting a facial analysis… In order to enjoy these activities, customers must scan a QR code. It is thanks to WeChat that this is possible. 

Customers have access with WeChat to the L’Oreal mini-program, so there is no need to download the app before entering the store. This system works in China because more than a billion people use already WeChat (1.2 billion). WeChat gives L’Oréal the opportunity to test this new O2O (offline to online) concept in a country already very used to this kind of concept.      

As the visit progresses, the mini-program becomes very important, and even more at the end of the visit. For example, if a customer is interested in a certain product but prefers to take more time before buying it, they can add the product to their virtual cart and purchase it when they want. This mix of in-store discovery and online shopping is becoming the norm among young people.  

More and more, stores are there to provide an experience to customers, who later buy the product on the Internet. L’Oréal has understood this and therefore offers its customers the possibility to order products via the mini-program.

Why visit this store?

1. Watching influencers live

In this store is a small studio used by different influencers. They broadcast live information on social networks from the store. These influencers are called “Key Opinion Leaders” or KOLs in China. You can also interact with them from social networks: send messages, for example, while they are live.


2. Biking in Paris

By scanning a QR code through the WeChat application, you have the opportunity to pedal a bike that takes you through the streets of Paris. The bike is placed in front of a screen that shows the Parisian landscape. Simply pedal and the screen changes to give you the impression of being in Paris.


3. Receive a personalized care routine 

A large screen gives you the ability to analyze your skin in for to recommend specific products tailored to your skin. To use this technology, simply scan the QR code, then take a picture of your face. The system takes a few seconds to analyze your skin. Once ready, a drawer opens under the screen; this drawer contains a sheet with the steps to follow for your new routine as well as a vintage-looking key that you can use later.


4. Learn about the products

Once your new routine is complete, it’s time to learn about the products you need. You can insert the key that you received after doing the analysis to see all the products on a large screen. In addition, there are a variety of products next to the screen, which can be placed on the screen. Once placed, a description is displayed. You can also scan the QR code that appears next to each product to add it to your cart (thanks to the WeChat mini-program).    



5. Return the key to receive a gift

That key that you used to discover your recommended products is no longer of much use. To encourage you to recycle, the store has set up a gift system. Simply drop the key into an opening; then an animation starts and you can pick up your gift (samples) which it comes out of the machine.



6. Recycle products that are no longer needed

To encourage recycling, L’Oreal has implemented a system in its new store. You have to scan the QR code in order to open a garbage can to get rid of the products you no longer use or need. With this initiative, L’Oreal is trying to lower the amount of waste produced.


Céline Delacharlerie
Celine is the correspondent of the Echangeur in China. On the lookout for retail innovations, she identifies and analyzes the latest retail and consumer trends in Asia.
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