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Generation tech: How SK-II’s Future X Smart Store is revolutionising skincare shopping

SK-II’s Future X Smart Store is the first of its kind in South East Asia. PHOTO: SK-II
SK-II’s Future X Smart Store is the first of its kind in South East Asia. PHOTO: SK-II
The SK-II Future X Smart Store is located outside Mandarin Gallery along Orchard Road. PHOTO: SK-II
The SK-II Future X Smart Store is located outside Mandarin Gallery along Orchard Road. PHOTO: SK-II
Find out how old your skin is, or how it fares in terms of radiance, wrinkle-resistances, smoothness and other factors. PHOTO: SK-II
Find out how old your skin is, or how it fares in terms of radiance, wrinkle-resistances, smoothness and other factors. PHOTO: SK-II
On top of the signature Facial Treatment Essence, give your skin the best with SK-II's range of complementary products. PHOTO: SK-11
On top of the signature Facial Treatment Essence, give your skin the best with SK-II's range of complementary products. PHOTO: SK-11

As its groundbreaking smart store concept Future X arrives in Singapore, SK-II global vice-president Sandeep Seth shares the brand's vision of being leaders in the beauty technology segment

The influence of beauty technology on the global retail landscape is growing.

Hot on the heels of successful iterations in Tokyo and Shanghai, Japanese beauty giant SK-II has launched Future X in Singapore. This marks the first ever Smart Store launch by SK-II in Southeast Asia.

According to Mr Sandeep Seth, traditional offline shopping environments with walled counters can create an intimidating and pressurising environment for shoppers. In contrast, Future X Smart Store is part of SK-II’s attempt to transform shopping experiences and engage with consumers in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them.

He adds: "We want to give control back to consumers by providing options to browse, shop and learn about their skin at their own pace and on their own terms. They can then consult our beauty experts should they need more advice."

Mr Seth shares more about where the brand is headed and how consumers can now experience a whole new way of shopping for skincare:

As a beauty tech leader, why is SK-II best positioned to launch the first Smart Store in Southeast Asia? 

We are always looking for fresh and meaningful ways to connect with a new generation of consumers.

 Future X Smart Store by SK-II is a global learning lab for our brand to create next-level retail experiences by leveraging technology. We want to be a brand that is both human- and experience-driven — one that creates moments that consumers cherish and empowers experiences in skin and life.

 Through state-of-the-art facial recognition, computer vision and artificial intelligence technology augmented by our proprietary Skin Science and Diagnostics innovation, the Smart Store provides intuitive, immersive and personalised skincare shopping like no other.

This holistic skincare experience is interactive and engaging for consumers on their own terms — beginning from the moment they step into the store till they are back home experiencing the power of Pitera through our products.

 What are some key takeaways gleaned from the Smart Store’s success in Tokyo and Shanghai?

No consumer wants to be pushed into buying products. Also, consumers are gravitating towards experiences.

The Singapore launch is our fourth-generation iteration since the first was launched in Tokyo this May. With each iteration, we are learning and continuing to improve.

The Smart Store helps us introduce the concept of a “phygital” retail environment, which allows shoppers to explore mixed media retail experiences that merge the physical and digital realms.

It is a world that is neither analogue nor virtual, but something in between. Our consumers can now learn about their skin in a way never before possible!

This is a great opportunity to bring meaningful innovation to consumers in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

 How will shoppers in Singapore respond, and why? 

We think they will be excited about what we have created. Younger generations would be especially engaged to try out this immersive and personalised skincare shopping experience.

Besides being non-pressurising, it is also simpler, quicker and more exciting. We welcome everyone to experience this new way of shopping for skincare.

How will this change retail patterns here?

Consumers today are already seamlessly moving between offline and online retail environments and experiences. The most important thing is to ensure they enjoy the them without creating the pressure to purchase.

We are still in the early stages, simply scratching at the surface when creating beauty experiences in retail. The possibilities to shape the landscape here are endless.

How will the Smart Store take things to the next level? 

This is an exciting time for SK-II. From a business standpoint, we are experiencing an unprecedented growth of demand.

Many of our bestselling products like Facial Treatment Essence, GenOptics Aura Essence and R.N.A. Power Radical New Age have been runaway hits in Japan, other Asian markets and travel retail channels. It is a great testament to the level of our connection and engagement with our consumers.

I believe this is a result of our single-minded focus to understand our clients and communicate with them, while driving our core brand fundamentals. 

Where else will SK-II’s global innovation journey take it?    

Just a few weeks ago, we launched SK-II Wonderland, a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) pop-up shopping destination in Tokyo. This marks our brand’s first retail play into AR.

Powered by Google’s AR Core technology and our proprietary Skin Science and Diagnostics innovation, SK-II Wonderland is our first-ever Smart Store with 26 completely individual interactions. Even the skin counselling experience is enhanced with an AR twist.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Experience SK-II's Future-X Smart Store located outside Mandarin Gallery from now till Jan 31, from 10am to 10pm daily. Click here for your nearest SK-II store location.