Sephora announced Friday the opening of a smaller-format concept store on Boston’s Newbury Street. The store, Sephora Studio, will be just 2,000 square feet, according to a company press release.
The store is oriented toward consultations and beauty services that fall just short of a spa experience, including a new 75-minute custom makeover with the client’s choice of a skincare consultation or mini facial. The store also features touchscreens that help customize foundation, lip and concealer shades, along with other beauty consulting services, the company said.
The store is stepping up omnichannel services as well, featuring a wide array of sampling opportunities and same-day pickup of online orders, in part thanks to the store’s ability to coordinate with the larger nearby Sephora store at the Prudential Center.
Along with Ulta, Sephora has disrupted the beauty counter — a department store mainstay — with a more streamlined presentation of beauty products, self-service sampling and helpful staff. Sephora is becoming a pretty extensive case study for how to introduce new technology online, on mobile and in stores. It has been very aggressive with chatbots as well as with its interactive virtual artist augmented reality application, which it continues to expand with new capabilities.
This new concept store will emphasize in-store technology to allow customers to discover new products and to encourage online orders. The idea is that Sephora’s assortment is available beyond the Studio’s walls, "making learning and playing with beauty even more accessible, anytime," the company said.
“In today’s retail environment where very little is constant and clients’ expectations are ever-evolving, one thing has remained true for Sephora: there is no better way to create meaningful connections with clients than through personalized experiences and a customized approach to beauty,” Calvin McDonald, president and CEO of Sephora Americas, said in a statement. “We could not be more focused on that notion than we are with the opening of Sephora Studio.The Studio merges the best of an inclusive neighborhood retail environment with best-in-class digital tools that enable our expert beauty advisors to customize recommendations on an individual basis.”
But the company isn’t just relying on tinier stores in its effort to reach beauty customers — some of the most enthusiastic shoppers in retail these days. In April, the retailer also opened its Beauty TIP (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshop concept stores on 5th Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan, the latter of which is its largest store in North America.