Over and above the international designer products that are displayed like sculptures on marble tables, Mecca Cosmetica is delivering consumers a unique customer journey — a shopping experience that’s also a lifestyle experience.
This doesn’t actually sound so strange. After all, shopping is a leading leisure activity in the Western world. But that’s generally because of a thing called retail therapy. Basically, it’s fun to buy new stuff. It lifts moods and makes consumers feel better. In fact, the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that retail therapy not only makes people happier immediately, but it can also fight lingering sadness or stress.
But that’s besides the point, because I’m not talking about the experience of retail therapy (buying something new), I’m talking about just the experience of being there.
An environment that encourages product testing and exploration
Mecca has created such an enjoyable experience in-store that purchases are not required to lift moods. The environment itself is enough.
In fact, for many young Australian women, visiting Mecca has become a social activity. Grab a coffee, go for a walk, and then go to Mecca. Sit down for lunch, have a cheeky Sunday cocktail, and then go to Mecca.
With products you can really play with, it feels like you’re a kid in a candy store (except you’re an adult, everything’s hundreds of dollars, and you have to pay for it yourself if you want it).
With so many glamorous and uplifting products to explore, it’s easy to take your time in there and have a lot of fun doing it.
Staff are always willing to help, but they leave you alone to explore as well. This is an extremely effective tactic because it makes product testing appealing and unintimidating. Have you ever sprayed a designer perfume on your wrist at a David Jones and caught a glaring glance from a judgmental sales lady in her fifties with smudged lipstick? She knows you can’t afford it and she’s not afraid to show it.
But that doesn’t happen at Mecca. The encouraging and comfortable environment facilitates product testing. And product testing means consumers experience the smells of the world’s most renowned perfumers and the feel of face cream that’s so nourishing and revitalising to the skin that it was actually developed to heal burn victims (looking at you, La Mer). These sensory experiences are what makes consumers fall in love with a product. And when you fall in love with a product, you don’t leave it behind no matter what budget you walked in with.
A customer rewards program that delivers value and encourages loyalty
Mecca has one of the best loyalty programs I’ve ever encountered personally or read about during my ongoing research into marketing tactics that work.
Mecca’s Beauty Loop is stacked full of rewards that are perfectly tailored to the needs of the customer and it functions on a tiered-basis to ensure that the best customers receive the best rewards.
- Beauty Loop boxes
Available to Beauty Loop Levels 1, 2 and 3, four times per year, these boxes are lovingly filled with must-try samples from Mecca’s favourite brands. Not only is this a free way to explore and test products (and we’ve already established how much fun that is), it’s a way for Mecca to expose the customer to new products in an exciting format. Neatly packaged in a pretty pink box that feels like a present, Mecca simultaneously rewards the customer and expands the volume of products they’re likely to purchase. Brilliant!
- Free makeup applications and tutorials
Beauty Loop Level 2 and Level 3 members are invited to choose between a 45-minute Mecca makeover service or the next-level Mecca Pro service, a 60-minute service designed for true beauty aficionados. These free applications (which make you feel like a goddess by the way) are offered multiple times a year (depending on the Beauty Loop level you’re at). Firstly, at any makeup retailer (Mecca and MAC included), these are usually free but you have to pay $90 for the booking which is redeemable on products.
In other words, the application itself is usually free but you have to buy $90 worth of stuff while you’re there. So having the applications be genuinely free is an exciting prospect. On your birthday, before the end-of-year work party, prior to that big date, Mecca will make you feel like a million bucks by expertly styling your face with the world’s best products at no cost. Meanwhile, they’re also introducing you to new products again! And these products will forever be associated with the time you felt like Blake Lively because of the perfect smokey eye that you walked out of there with. There’s no way you’re leaving behind the eye liner.
- Birthday gifts
Now let’s be clear, birthday gifts from brands are usually nothing special. Maybe a discount that they probably would’ve offered anyone else at any point anyway. And it’s probably on a product you don’t even like. Mecca will give you a real product (no samples) worth a decent amount (my last one was a body wash which retailed for nearly $50) and they’ll wrap it up nicely for you so it really feels like a present. That’s more than you get from some friends! But you’ll need to come into the store to collect it and that’s usually not all you’ll leave with. Plus, by asking for information to send birthday gifts and other great benefits, Mecca captures a lot of data on its customers. They know you in and out.
Genuinely great customer service
It always sounds like a bit of a cop out when you read this, but great customer service really is the key to establishing a loyal customer base. Friendly and inviting staff contribute to the welcoming, inviting and warm environment that Mecca offers. With beautiful and perfectly groomed sales assistants and (relatively) unaffordable products, you’d think it would be the type of shopping experience you avoid unless you really need something. But the staff at Mecca make a strong and effective effort to build relationships and deliver exceptional service. Remembering regulars and offering assistance in a friendly but unintrusive manner helps to draw customers in and keep them coming back.
But overall, it’s absolutely clear that they’re not focused on the sale but the experience provided. I know this first-hand because of an interaction I had a couple of months ago. It was my birthday, so I had come into the Armadale store to get my makeup done so I would feel extra special on my big night out. I had expected to pay the $90 and purchase a couple of products I’d been waiting to buy anyway. When it came time to pay, I walked up to the register with my items and the assistant went to process them for me under my account in the system. She discovered that I had a free application on my account and didn’t need to buy anything today if I didn’t want. I thanked her and indicated that I would save that for next time because I actually needed to buy a couple of items that day anyway. She then informed me that one of the items I had gone to buy was actually in the birthday gift she had behind the counter for me, so I didn’t need to purchase that one if I didn’t want. I was amazed. She was clearly attempting to make sure I left very happy, rather than with the highest spend behind me.
I ended up buying a few more things and saving my free application for next time. There’s always going to be a next time when customers can tell you’re prioritising their experience over your sales. And, ironically, that’s what’s going to boost your sales and keep customers coming back.