How might we design the digital-first, flagship retail store of the future?

Future-proof InnovationInspirational Insight | Innovation Teams | Brand Marketers

MAC’s Innovation Lab adapts in real-time to local market trends


MAC case study post it

The Challenge

The beauty industry is facing the headwinds of online retailers. In 2017, U.S. e-commerce beauty sales grew by 1.6 billion USD, while brick-and-mortar beauty sales decreased by 168 million USD.

MAC Cosmetics recognized the need to address this challenge and sought to create a retail store experience that offered exclusivity and a personal connection that couldn’t be replicated online. They approached Sense Worldwide to explore the future of retail and develop a strategy to overcome the impact of e-commerce.


Our Approach

We tackled this challenge head-on by collaborating with The Sense Network. We gathered insights and perspectives from individuals who see things differently and think differently. This included a hip-hop festival organizer, an industrial designer, a cultural studies graduate, and a classical singer; the participants hailed from every continent (except Antarctica!) Our team on the ground, they gathered intel on emerging trends and gave us inspirational insight into leading-edge experiences. In beauty, retail, digital, and beyond.

They showed us the importance of playing an active role in the local community; giving us best-in-class examples of how brands worked with their community to co-create a more tailored experience. Experiences that ultimately attract, engage, and retain loyal customers.


MAC Innovation Lab


The Result

The MAC Innovation Lab, situated in New York City’s Queens Centre, opened as a transformative destination store. It seamlessly combines the power of online influencer culture, cutting-edge technology, and MAC’s expertise.

The store’s retail experience adapts to the local community and real-time market trends. From virtual make-up suggestions to new product and look drops, customized messaging to in-store samples, the adaptive nature of the store makes staying in vogue easier than ever before.


The artist is essential to the neighborhood, and communities are crucial to us – we wish to emphasize that. The store is delivering the ability to adapt to the local community and will present content and looks that speak to the local community.

Philipee Pinatel, Global Brand President of MAC Cosmetics


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