Retail in Asia


Indian conglomerate Tata plans to open 20 ‘beauty tech’ outlets

The Tata Group plans to open as many as 20 “beauty tech” stores where it will offer virtual makeup kiosks and digital skin tests to attract young, affluent shoppers.

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The launch pits Tata against LVMH’s Sephora and domestic rival Nykaa for a share of the rapid growth beauty and personal care market in the world’s second-most populous country.

Tata is targeting “beauty enthusiasts” in India between the ages of 18 and 45, who are interested in buying foreign cosmetics such as Estee Lauder, M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown, according to a document that names Ellis Brooklyn, Gallinee and The Honest Company as potential partners. In talks with over two dozen companies, Tata is looking for exclusive products for its new stores, said a source familiar with the strategy.

The store opening plans come after Tata launched its beauty shopping app, Tata CLiQ Palette, recently. As a joint venture partner of global brands like Zara and Starbucks, the company is already in brick-and-mortar retail in India.

Tata CLiQ Palette branding will adorn the facade of the stores, with 70% of the products inside being skincare and make-up. Tata is planning to install technology in the stores that allows customers to try on dozens of lipstick shades virtually and to take virtual skin tests.

While this technology is not new, other beauty retailers across the globe currently use it, the concept of experiential retail is still a relatively new concept in Indian malls.

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“Experiential retail is going to be a big thing in India as more customers will spend their leisure time at such stores,” said Pankaj Renjhen, joint managing director at India’s Anarock Retail consultancy. “In the premium segment – where a customer is looking for things beyond price – experiential retail helps trigger impulse shopping and can entice them.”