Store of the future: Sephora’s ‘next-gen’ site mixes high-tech tools with the human touch

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sephora says it is incorporating digital technology with the human touch via its first Asia ‘next-gen’ store. [Sephora]
Sephora says it is incorporating digital technology with the human touch via its first Asia ‘next-gen’ store. [Sephora]

Related tags: Sephora, digital, omnichannel, beauty 4.0, beauty tech, personalised beauty, retail

Beauty omnichannel retailer Sephora says it is incorporating digital technology with the human touch via its first Asia ‘next-gen’ store.

On September 23, Sephora unveiled its first Asia Store of the Future in Singapore. The 426-square metre space was three years in the making, envisioned to be the next-generation store with “technology at the heart of its design”, ​said Alia Gogi, President of Sephora Asia.

The new store is the result of the omnichannel retailers’ research and study to understand how technology could help “unlock” the beauty consumers’ journey.

“Everything that we do at Sephora starts and ends with our consumer. We are obsessed about the consumer journey and that guided our approach when we think through the solution to unite, inspire, and connect our community of beauty lovers,”​ said Gogi.

Using technology, Sephora’s new store gives shoppers access to a wealth of information, be it skin care recommendations through the Skincredible app, or digital QR-code touchpoints where they can access over a million consumer reviews.

The new store is also Sephora’s first-ever store in Asia that is equipped with a fully mobile checkout process.

Stores can no longer be just a point of transaction because there are so many options for consumers to transact so experiential retail is absolutely critical. Customers today come into our stores to be inspired, learn and discover and that is what Sephora has always been known for – our unparalleled curation of beauty products and the expertise of our beauty advisors,” ​said Gogi.

The beauty of the human touch

While there is an increasing need for digital touchpoints in brick-and-mortar, the human touch is just as crucial, Gogi added.

“A direct result of the studies that we have conducted is bucketing three different areas that we want to shift in the store – space, digital and the human element. The human touch is ever more critical because customers come in looking for advice and help with the assortment of products available.”

To that end, the new store boasts the introduction of paid services including facials, makeovers, and hair styling services. It also features the Play Table and the Care Table, spaces that allow consumers to discover new products.

It is also home to a beauty school, where Sephora runs regular classes live for its community of beauty lovers.

“They can participate in-person or via live streaming to learn about on-trend make- up looks, skin care regimes, hairstyling tips, beauty products and more. It is key to have a mix of the personal touch and digital touchpoints to complete the consumer journey,” ​said Gogi.

Gogi told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the store will not stay stagnant. It is crucial to note that this store is an innovation hub where we will continue to evolve based on feedback and analysis.”

She emphasised that consumer shopping habits will continue to evolve and blur the boundaries between online and offline retail experiences.

“But they will always focus on the experience and Sephora wants to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure that they come in feeling excited and leave feeling happy and fulfilled.”
Sephora plans to open the next similar concept store in Shanghai next year.

“We’re going to learn, iterate, tweak, and get it better as we roll out this concept in other stores,” ​said Gogi.

To learn more about the retail major’s latest ‘store of the future’, hear straight from Alia in our latest webinar on beauty 4.0 Register to watch our Beauty 4.0 – Tech, Tools and Future Trends webinar on-demand here​. 

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