Chanel is going big on brick-and-mortar, starting in Brooklyn.
The prestige brand is opening a 1,324.5-square-foot boutique in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood on North 6th Street that will encompass makeup, skin care, fragrance, Chanel eyewear and seasonal, small leather goods. It also will offer remote ordering, curbside pickup, same-day delivery and virtual shopping appointments.
A designated space for private consultations will include a menu of services, from building skin care routines to education around makeup routines and the brand’s fragrance offering, which celebrated its centennial in 2021. The boutique opens Thursday.
The strategy for launching more stand-alone boutiques, in tandem with expanded wholesale distribution — Chanel entered Ulta Beauty earlier this year in that retailer’s bid for luxury shoppers — is to better meet shoppers where they “live, work and play,” said Barbara Menarguez, general manager of Chanel’s beauty business.
“We look to establish a presence in markets where our chanel.com clients are most concentrated to further build upon those existing relationships with omnichannel experiences, as well as in markets where we believe there is a high potential to build new client relationships,” Menarguez said.
The boutiques are magnets for much-coveted beauty shoppers. “We’re seeing that our [fragrance and beauty] boutiques attract a client that is majority new to Chanel and they skew more heavily toward Gen Z than many other points of distribution,” Menarguez said. “These locations are designed to provide the ultimate luxury Chanel experience — and clients tell us through our world-class client satisfaction scores that we are doing just that.
“We think about our points of distribution as a ‘harmonized network’ — each playing a unique role in meeting our many clients where, when and how they want to shop and engage with us,” Menarguez continued.
That strategy seems to be working. The boutiques “stand alongside our most prestigious points of wholesale distribution in having incredibly high loyalty and engagement, and we are learning that the more opportunities we offer our clients to engage with Chanel, the more they deepen their relationship with us. Many clients who begin their Chanel journey in fragrance and beauty go on to engage with our fashion and watch and fine jewelry products,” Menarguez said.
No wonder it has so many more on the docket. “We also look to complement our wholesale points of distribution as we’ve found that having a fragrance and beauty boutique in a market has a positive halo effect on the surrounding points of distribution. By the end of next year, we will have significant coverage in our top 20 chanel.com markets including multiple boutiques in top markets like New York, Los Angeles and Miami,” Menarguez said.
“Over the past few years, with the rise of hybrid working, we have concentrated on placing our boutiques where our clients are living and working and back in 2021 we recognized that North 6th Street was rapidly becoming a must-visit retail destination in a vibrant New York City neighborhood — the perfect spot for us to meet our clients,” Menarguez said of the decision to open a door in Williamsburg.
The company ended last year with 565 boutiques globally, with fashion accounting for 262 doors, as reported by WWD. Chanel overall reported 17 percent revenue gains to $17.22 billion across divisions. Business on the beauty side remains equally buoyant.
“Chanel remains the number-one prestige fragrance and beauty brand on the market,” said Menarguez. “In beauty, Chanel has returned to and exceeded our pre-pandemic sales levels and we have increased our beauty client base in existing distribution. We attribute this success to our investment in people and the services they provide to our clients. We are also focused on meeting our clients where they want to shop.”
Services have been imperative to attracting and retaining clients, and Menarguez said the boutique network represents “the standard for all Chanel [fragrance and beauty] distribution in terms of service, experience, and sharing the incredible history and heritage of our house.”
To that end, Chanel has invested in hiring ambassadors in each door with Ulta Beauty. “Ulta is another place we can speak to a Gen Z beauty enthusiast who may be discovering our products for the first time — it’s a great place for us to put ourselves in the path of the client to introduce them to the world of Chanel fragrance and beauty,” Menarguez said. “We are in a very limited number of Ulta stores, and we love that they are a home for beauty enthusiasts to test and play. We know that our clients love personalized service, so we have dedicated brand ambassadors in each Ulta door to create that luxurious experience for them.”