Secret Shopper: Edinburgh’s new H Beauty store
As part of TheIndustry.fashion's Secret Shopper series, we visited the H beauty store at St James Quarter in Edinburgh. The 21,000 sq ft store, which opened in late November, is the latest edition to Harrods’ H beauty portfolio, joining its existing standalone stores at Lakeside and Centre:mk in Milton Keynes.
H beauty was first launched by Harrods in 2020, aiming to provide industry-leading expertise and create a luxury shopping experience through its curation of beauty brands in locations outside of London.
Today, the beauty retailer is continuing to grow, with two new stores opening in 2022 in Bristol and Newcastle, bringing the national H Beauty footprint to over 127,000 sq ft of beauty retail space.
In this latest piece, we look at H Beauty's newest store to see if it fulfils the retailer's mission of creating a high-quality and localised customer experience for Edinburgh's shoppers.
Located on the third floor of Edinburgh’s St James Quarter shopping centre, H beauty joins a number of global brands including Calvin Klein, Rituals, L’Occitane, Peloton and Omega. St James Quarter is a new, modern and popular shopping centre at the heart of Edinburgh.
Windows & Entrance
Initially I was quite taken back by the size of the store front - it dominates the space. H Beauty has avoided traditional window displays, making a bold statement against the other shops around it. Instead, the store’s large windows were illuminated with bright purple and blue lighting. The big entrance ways then offered a preview into the store, inviting new and eager consumers to experience the luxury space.
The Store-fit & Displays
Upon entering, it became very clear that the H Beauty store encompassed Harrods’ luxury style. Similar to the other H Beauty stores in the UK, the venue felt very modern, clean and tidy, providing a good balance between busy and spacious.
The product categories were fairly clear, with overhead signs marking each section. Additionally, smaller categories were labelled on some displays, including men’s grooming and a mask bar. One particular section that was quite engaging was the 'H Beauty buyers picks'. Within this section, ten products were ranked to form a handpicked edit of current popular brands and products. Similar to this, the store also features a 'Born & Bred ' section, consisting of beauty brands local to the Scottish store.
Another fun feature was the store’s Harrods Champagne Bar. Lucky to get a seat, it seemed other customers were enjoying it as much as myself. Even the disposable drink mats were well designed, with one customer asking to take a couple home due to its nice design.
The Try-on Experience
The store features a dedicated try-on bar in the store, whilst this area was empty and unmanned, the store's ‘playtable’ looked inviting and was lit up with bright mirrors and had a luxurious feel.
While browsing the Dior-dedicated area, it wasn’t long before I was greeted by a sales assistant asking if I would like some help. iPad in hand, the sales assistant was able to check prices, different product sizes and stock immediately. They appeared quite knowledgeable and were helpful in differentiating between the scents of Dior’s fragrances.
The Product Range
Being an extension of Harrods, I assumed H Beauty's product range was going to be limited to luxury and expensive beauty brands. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the retailer's affordable product range, with brands available including Chanel, Givenchy, Charlotte Tilbury, The Ordinary, Kylie Cosmetics and Huda Beauty.
In conclusion, the new H Beauty store offers Edinburgh's shoppers something a bit different. The extensive store front is enough to draw in customers with its luminous glow. Combine this with the fact that it's a whole space dedicated to beauty and you can definitely see the appeal. Its modern and luxury style creates a special shopping experience, helped by its great selection of brands and the added leisure of its own champaign bar. If I lived closer, I’d be back in there soon for another beauty browse and cocktail for sure.