Delivering a personal and bespoke service, Space NK employs a team of highly trained makeup artists and skin and hair care specialists that are devoted to offering well-informed and unbiased advice. Here, RLI speaks with CEO Andy Lightfoot to discuss the next steps for the brand and to learn more about the company’s distinct style.
Starting out as a single store in Covent Garden over 20 years ago, Space NK has become the ultimate destination for beauty discovery. In stores and online, customers will find a finely honed selection of the most innovative products in the beauty world, including super-charged skincare, cutting-edge cosmetics and gamechanging gadgets. Today the business operates 70 freestanding stores in the UK, along with nine freestanding stores in the US along with 22 Bloomingdales concessions and 21 Nordstrom concessions, with four of these in Canada, and finally eight freestanding stores are in operation in China. “The last 12 months have been incredibly exciting, we have been reframing our strategy and plans for embarking on an ambitious three-year plan to cement our position as the global destination for the most in-demand brands in the world,” explains Andy Lightfoot, CEO of Space NK.
“As part of this, we have opened 15 new locations and accelerated our investment in technology to bring our customer experience on par or ahead of the best in online retail.” Right now the company is going through a customer transformation. Lightfoot explains this by saying that the brand is actively breaking down the artificial barriers between stores and online and investing heavily in creating seamless journeys, whether a visitor is in the early stages of research or whether they know exactly what they want to buy. From a stores point of view a test and learn approach has been adopted. Instead of immediately rolling out an initiative across its store portfolio, Space NK now use test groups of five or ten people to quickly test a business case. There are currently around half a dozen of these tests in place, with some performing incredibly well and others in need of some iterative improvements.
“An example of this approach is our recent rollout of open sell merchandising on colour brands. Starting as a single brand in one store it’s now 4 brands in 20. When things work, we move fast!” Speaking on the topic of social media, Lightfoot believes that it should be just that, social, and that many retailers view the channel as an opportunity to sell. Instead, the brand uses it as an opportunity to engage its audience and mobilise its advocates around new product and brand launches. They use Instagram to gauge engagement and that drives some of its other marketing investments through channels in which they do not expect to see a return. The idea of loyalty is something that can be defined very differently by retailers and customers. “To us, loyalty is about being there when the customer needs us, to be the first place they consider coming to when they need advice or want to purchase. We invest in this and customer loyalty follows,” explains Lightfoot.