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16 Sep

Sephora Launching ‘Asia Store of the Future’ – WWD

PARIS – Sephora will launch what it calls the “Asia store of the longer term” in Singapore’s Raffles City Shopping Mall on Sept. 23.

In Asia, where digital ecosystems and adoption are far more advanced than in other parts of the world, Sephora executives began brainstorming well before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“We sat down and said: ‘What would it not appear to be if we created a store where technology was the guts of the design and getting used to essentially unlock consumer journeys?’” explained Alia Gogi, president of Sephora Asia. “That was really the issue statement we began with.”

Layered on this soon after was the health crisis, which accelerated the ideation process, since retailers had to grasp quickly the the reason why consumers would return to brick-and-mortar stores after a period of shopping for online.

“Now not can stores be a degree of transaction, because you’ve gotten so many digital touch points to find a way to transact,” she continued. “So experiential retail goes to be absolutely critical.”

Sephora, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, led two focus groups – one in Shanghai and one other in Singapore.

“We began to ask numerous questions on consumers’ expectations around store experiences. ‘How do they find technology?’” said Gogi. “Because numerous times we discover it gimmicky technology, and really we’d like to have humanized technology.”

Consumers shared quite a few insights.

“In consequence, we bucketed three different areas of themes: space, digital and the human element,” she said. “We got here up with these three areas that we desired to shift in the shop.”

People want to be inspired once they consider visiting a store.

“What the brand represents may be very necessary,” said Gogi. “Then, once they enter the shop, they need to be helped with the navigation.”

So Sephora decided to go heavy on curation within the 4,585-square-foot location.

“It’s something we’ve at all times done throughout the world, but you’ll find on this store there may be a really strong tone of voice around what we imagine are curated products and themes which can be on-trend,” said Gogi.

Also to assist decision-making are slim-lined product assortments and Scan to Interact, which is exclusive to the situation, too.

“That is the technology contained in the mobile app that enables the client to scan all of the products through either barcodes, or we’ve got QR codes in certain areas of the shop,” she said. “That takes them directly into our rankings and reviews page.”

Consumers had shared that the rankings and reviews page had played a vital role in purchasing decisions.

“So now the patron in the shop has access to 1 million rankings and reviews that we’ve got been in a position to consolidate from the world over, including Asia, and [can] make a alternative on their very own,” said Gogi. “It’s going to take time for adoption, obviously, but something that’s going to be very powerful.”

There are interactive Play Tables for skincare and makeup. When one enters the shop, an area addresses seven skin-related concerns, and Sephora has created a product assortment merchandised in accordance with those. A table has technology called Lift and Learn, which allows people to lift up a product, causing in-depth content concerning the item to look on a screen.

One other learning from the main target groups, especially in China, was that buyers feel there’s an intimacy and vulnerability linked to beauty shopping, especially for a primary purchase or with a skin diagnosis. That helped inform the shop’s design elements, including the curtain wrapping across the Beauty Studio or the privatized area for facials.

“That’s an enormous game-changer,” said Gogi of the patron insights, adding they might be specific to Asia.

Skin services include Perk By Hydrafacial, a non-invasive facial treatment using resurfacing technology. Tech-wise, there may be Skincredible 2.0, a handheld device with a camera that takes photos of three parts of a face then evaluates skin conditions and offers product recommendations based on those assessment results. The primary version was pioneered in Singapore, rolled out to the U.S., and that is the newest version, with the firepower of more algorithms to assist with personalization.

“The dream is ultimately to have that linked into our member profile, so that buyers can then have what we call a rating of their skin,” said Gogi. “They’ll come back to the shop again and really see if their rating is recuperating.”

Younger consumers in the main target group said they’re greatly inspired by social media, especially makeup looks there. Nevertheless, they typically don’t know what products can provide a selected look.

So in The Play Table interactive area, people can shop and buy by popular look with video tutorials created by a “Sephora squad.” Here, color cosmetics are arranged by look. At launch, two shall be featured on the table, but Gogi imagines that number could grow as much as 50.

“We’re going to hold on evolving it, and see how that continues,” she said.

Inspired by the U.S. stores, within the Beauty Studio in Singapore, Sephora is launching three different versions of paid services.

“It just elevates our credibility, and the notion of value that comes with the service,” said Gogi.

A part of what unites the sweetness community in the brand new store is The Beauty Live Studio, present in the back. It’ll hold free classes for consumers, who can book online through the mobile app.

“We’ll have about 50 classes over the following two months,” she said. “It’s the primary on this planet. So the shop becomes a ground not only to purchase, but to essentially have an education around beauty.”

There may also be hair care services. Free, 15-minute hair consultations are planned to diagnose scalp and hair conditions, as is a dry styling service.

Because consumers today are obsessive about a two- to three-click checkout process and don’t need to wait on lines anymore, this shall be the primary Sephora location to go cashless. Beauty advisers are to have mobile POS handheld devices through which payments will be made.

A mixture of private touch and tech is essential.

“One thing really necessary about this store is it’s an innovation hub,” said Gogi. “We’re going to learn, iterate, tweak and get it higher before we ever consider any rollout. That’s something Sephora has never done before.

“We’re excellent at stores, but actually to create a store where you possibly can try latest things and really find a way to check and learn before you go further is something we haven’t done,” she said. “This store will do it.”

Singapore was chosen for the brand new retail concept’s first location as a consequence of its diverse and cosmopolitan population. It’s where Sephora holds the dominant position, has a base, in addition to a tech and digital team of 100 people.

Next up is a gap in Shanghai, slated for 2023.

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