Through a program called "First at Sephora" launching in store and online this month, the beauty retailer is offering an exclusive series of products from six of its best performers — Benefit, Pat McGrath, Urban Decay, Tarte, Violet Voss and Natasha Denona, Glossy reports.
Starting this month, such exclusives will be available only at Sephora, bypassing even the brands' own sites and stores, according to the report.
A variety of beauty products priced between $25 and $129, the items will debut at various times throughout the year and sell only at Sephora for 30 days, Sephora executives told Glossy.
Partnering with brands for exclusive products has worked well at Ulta and isn't completely unheard of at Sephora, either. The LVMH-owned beauty retailer already has tie-ups with other LVMH-owned brands.
But non-LVMH beauty companies were quick to seize on Sephora's new effort, Glossy reports. The program continues Sephora's years-long concerted push to entice beauty shoppers away from department stores and drugstores with easy to shop and easy to test products at a variety of price points, supported by knowledgeable and brand-agnostic staff. In fact, despite its place in one of Europe's largest and most venerable luxury conglomerates, Sephora has maintained its entrepreneurial edge.
Its 2015 Beauty TIP Workshop (launched three years ago) and Sephora Studio (opened last year), are tech-heavy concepts that keep the customer at the forefront, and both represent a shopping experience that's much more focused on the experience than on the conversions. Meanwhile, the company's Innovation Lab and push into in-store tech like beacons shows the retailer is determined to keep its customers' attention.
Most recently, Sephora chose 13 female entrepreneurs from seven countries for its third annual beauty startup accelerator, "Sephora Accelerate," its largest yet. The accelerator focuses on ideas and businesses related to merchandising, technology and sustainability. The program culminates in Sephora Accelerate Demo Day, a platform where the businesspeople present their companies to industry experts, venture partners and senior Sephora leaders, allowing Sephora to keep the pulse of innovation in the industry.
This move should also help the specialty retailer fight against the likes of Amazon, which is increasingly moving into the beauty sector and stealing sales through the replenishment shopper. Exclusive product debuts could encourage more customers to head into stores rather than buy the same old mascara on Amazon.