'Sephora effect' - beauty retailer changing the game in the US

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

'Sephora effect' - beauty retailer changing the game in the US

Related tags Cosmetics Sephora

The importance of the in-store experience has not been wasted on Sephora, as can been seen with its 'Innovation Lab', which the retailer says will feature programs that encourage the next generation of digital leaders.

According to Sephora, the Innovation Lab will groom the next generation of leaders, who will be developing the "next big idea" in retail.

The space in San Francisco will feature a lab team that will source, develop, evaluate, test and eventually launch new offerings and technologies for shopping in the store and on-the-go.

"It will tap the collective creativity of the beauty retailer's 14,000 employees nationwide, grow the next generation of leaders, and elevate Sephora's digital future,"​ says Bridget Dolan, vice president of Sephora's Innovation Lab.

The international beauty retailer has teamed with Google, Apple and others in the past, and has plans to make additional strategic alliances in the future, through this Lab's 'Think Tank' program.

"We have a relentless hunger for developing technologies and networking with emerging technology companies that might seem unexpected now, but could define the future of retail," ​Dolan adds.

Changing the US beauty game

According to The Washington Post, before the beauty retailer set up shop in the US, consumers had the option of buying make up at a no-frills drugstore like Duane Reade, or from an expensive department store counter.

In a recent statement, CEO for Sephora Americas, Calvin McDonald said that innovation has always been in the brand's DNA.

"We disrupted beauty by being the first to offer clients access to premium beauty out from behind the department store make-up counters, and we want to keep that spirit and bold tenacity alive," ​he adds.

Four new digital experiences

Sephora's Lab will feature the following new experiences for shoppers:

  • Beacons​ –  Personalized alerts to clients who opt-in. Shoppers can receive things like birthday alerts, loyalty program updates and be notified when new trainings are happening in-store.
  • Pocket Contour​ – A cross-platform personal virtual make-up artist application, that Sephora says takes the mystery out of contouring, a growing consumer trend in beauty. By analyzing a photo on a mobile, the app can help to identify face-shape, and give personalized step-by-step guidance on how to apply make-up.
  • Augmented Reality​ - A reality experience for clients via the Sephora-To-Go mobile app for iPhone. Launching in April, clients can engage with custom content by hovering over nine brand founder faces, like Josie Maran, Laura Mercier, Kat Von D and others. Scanning each image with augmented reality will show content options, like brand founder interviews, product videos, animated GIFs, YouTube playlists and product pages on Sephora.com.
  • SEPHORA Flash -​ Frequent shoppers who want products even faster can sign-up for this app, which allows customers free two-day shipping on all products. Flash is free for Rouge Beauty Insider members, and $10/year for all non-Rouge members

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