When it comes to adopting the latest technology and in-store trends, few retail markets have been as on top of their game as the makeup and beauty industries.
Global beauty retailer Sephora is following up on its close watching of consumer trends and positioning itself as the most innovative beauty products company in the world. Key to this distinction is its new generation of “connected stores” that combine the best of in-store experience with ease of online shopping.
The Ultimate In-Store Beauty Experience, With a Social Twist
These “New Sephora Experience” stores’ focus on experience takes the form of ultra-personalized services. At its new 9,000-plus square-foot location in Paris, shoppers at the “Beauty Hub” can stoke their imaginations through iPad-based virtual lookbooks, where they can see a virtual catalogue of the latest beauty trends, virtually test new looks with the store’s “Virtual Artist” and find products that perfectly match their exact skin tone with its “Color Profile.” The included “Beauty Board” even lets shoppers share their favorite looks with the beauty community, tying in a social aspect to the experience.
The store also includes a small section of travel or sample-sized skincare products, called the “Mini Skincare Market,” which gives shoppers the opportunity to test brands or products without committing to buying a full-sized version. Of course, the Paris New Sephora Experience location includes a mask bar and a hairstyling bar, which give customers the opportunity to have their products professionally applied right in the store. It even offers complimentary custom engraving, where customers can personalize everything from a perfume bottle to a lipstick, according to Premium Beauty News.
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Experimentation With Innovation
These and other ideas all sprung from Sephora’s Innovation Lab, which launched in 2015 and whose mission is to develop new technologies, evaluate their usefulness in stores and test them out. By being open to trying new technologies and taking some risks along the way, Sephora is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition when it comes to in-store innovation and incorporating technology into the shopping experience.
The beauty market is competitive to say the least, and one whose customers generally prefer to see the products in person. As such, whichever companies can draw in customers to their stores with interesting and fun experiences are going to be a cut above the rest. Sephora’s efforts in closely monitoring customer preferences and putting their money where their lipstick is has started to pay off, garnering big attention for the beauty supply company and setting the bar higher for competitors to keep up. It will be interesting to see what the future of the in-store beauty shopping experience looks like once Sephora’s innovative model becomes the norm.
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