Sephora: Marrying Physical and Digital

Aug 31, 2016 — Tara Bartlett
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Yes, I COULD just go to Sephora.com and place an order, replenish my current favorites and try new items based on savvy recommendations fueled by my past purchase history, and I do this from time to time for convenience sake, however, it’s just way more fun to visit a Sephora store!

Why? Because Sephora has done an amazing job creating a brick-and-mortar experience that is interactive, educational, convenient and fun all while being tightly coupled with a digital experience that supports the buyer’s journey at any stage.

But Sephora is not about to get comfortable. They are taking their already exceptional in-store experience and looking for ways to make it even better by introducing new concept stores like their 400th location on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. A store that features more high-tech touches, space for classes and experimenting with products. 

This new beauty space is paramount to a completely rethought in-store experience.

At the heart of the new store concept is the Beauty Tip Workshop that brings Sephora’s teach, inspire, and play approach to life. This new beauty space is paramount to a completely rethought in-store experience. The workshop consists of an area for up to 10 clients to learn via group beauty classes, access to self-guided tutorials using iPad stations, and a place to gather inspiration from The Beauty Board, plus Sephora's own shop-able gallery that showcases user-generated content via a large digital screen. Each station is equipped with its own product, iPad, USB port and Wi-Fi, so clients can play, browse and share looks on the digital screen and online, right from their seat. 

A higher purpose than the transaction

In an interview, Sephora America’s President and CEO, Calvin McDonald said, “If the sole purpose of your physical environment is nothing more than to transact, you're in trouble because dot-com can transact more conveniently and more easily than a physical environment. We believe that our retail footprint exists to do so much more than just transact. It's designed to provide a service, a mini-makeover, it's designed to teach, where you can sit down and have an interaction with a cast member. (The transaction is) the end result of her exploring, her learning, her being inspired and playing and having fun.”

Sephora is offering experiences customers can't replicate online alongside technology catering to shoppers who want to browse and buy both in-store and online, maybe even at the same time.

Sephora is truly blurring the lines between physical and digital and making it easy for customers to interact with the brand and buy where they want, how they want and when they want.

Although most beauty product sales still happen in stores, customers increasingly want to be able to use technology to research products and browse. According to a survey earlier this year from market research firm Mintel, 45%  of respondents said they would rather look for product information on a smartphone than ask a sales associate for help when shopping.

Sephora is truly blurring the lines between physical and digital and making it easy for customers to interact with the brand and buy where they want, how they want and when they want.

Sorry to my digital cart patiently waiting for me to check out online, but I’m heading to a Sephora store instead to check out the new technology, learn a few new beauty tips and tricks and most definitely buy more items than planned.

Are you ready to create a connected experience? Click below to download the whitepaper titled, Five Steps Toward Reimagining the Physical Store. 

 

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Topics: Customer Experience

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