GuerlainCosmetics and perfume company Guerlain is set to debut its new space on 68 Champs-Elysées on Google Hangout today. The space is the largest cosmetics store in the world by square feet. It includes a spa and offers personal fragrance consultations for $56,800 session. Guerlain has also released some personal fragrances that are specific to 68 Champs-Elysées.

68 Champs-Elysées is an example of the interactive and personalized approach beauty and cosmetics companies are expanding to their digital platforms. Brands such as L’Oreal, Lancôme, Bobbi Brown, and Benefit (all in the Genius category of our 2013 Digital IQ Index: Beauty report) used tactics such as video tutorials and a curated product list to create a connection with their consumers. Other tactics include auto-replenishing orders, including a space on the brand site for user reviews, and employing customer representatives to live chat with consumers are other ways to connect with consumers. Our research found that 83% of beauty companies include user reviews on their site, 72% include samples with orders, 44% auto-replenish orders, and 33% include the live chat feature on their site.

Beauty companies have made effort to meet the consumer in the digital space. Our report shows that 100% of beauty brands are on Facebook.  89% are on Twitter, and 88% are on YouTube.

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E-commerce in the beauty industry has shown astonishing growth this year, a projected rate of 29.1%, according to our report.

But as the giant Guerlain store shows, brick and mortar is not completely over. Our Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail report released in June shows that an adoption of a multichannel strategy can increase overall sales. An online or mobile presence is often what inspires consumers to purchase at a brick-and-mortar store. Online channels are expected to influence almost half of retail sales by 2016, but e-commerce itself will account for only 8.6% of retail sales. Mobile presence is key as well, even if it doesn’t lead to purchases on the device. 90% of smartphone shoppers use their phone 
for pre-shopping activities.

For Guerlain – which sells a large selection of perfumes in addition to cosmetics – a strong brick-and-mortar presence is crucial. Unlike beauty looks and colors, scents can’t be transferred digitally. Our Digital IQ Index 2013 Digital IQ Index: Beauty report ranked 60% of fragrance brands in the Feeble category. But even if scents can’t be transmitted online, some experiences can be. Releasing a sneak preview of  a flagship store on Google Hangout before the physical store is open for business shows how a brick-and-mortar strategy and a digital strategy can go hand in hand.

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