- Sephora has opened its second Studio, a 3,580 square-foot store in Hoboken, New Jersey, the retailer said in an email to Retail Dive. The store comes 10 months after the first Sephora Studio opened on Boston's Newbury Street in July of last year.
- The store features tech-enabled beauty discovery like the Virtual Artist tool, which lets users virtually try on different looks, and the Color IQ feature, which scans a customer's face to find a foundation match. The location also accommodates Sephora's Beauty Studio Check-In, an online reservation tool, and its Sephora Client App, which staff can reference to quickly serve clients, including checking their loyalty status or product information, along with mobile checkout.
- But it's not all tech — there are also beauty classes, a concierge advice service and services like facials. The company plans to open more Studios this year, including in Brooklyn, New York; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C.
Sephora Studio is designed to feature much of the wow factor of the retailer's Beauty TIP Workshop, a concept first introduced in 2015, within a smaller urban format. Both balance knowledgeable store associates with digitally-enabled experiences for a compelling experience that takes full advantage of brick and mortar.
Sephora is becoming a pretty extensive case study for how to introduce new technology online, on mobile and in stores. The retailer has been aggressive with chatbots, as well as with its interactive virtual artist augmented reality application, which it continues to expand with new capabilities.
It's particularly effective for grabbing the attention of younger shoppers who are increasingly seeking out more experience-driven retailers. A study by the Fashion Institute of Technology found that millennials were more likely to purchase from retailers who focused on experience and community, and other studies have shown that Gen Z is following suit.
"If you think about the difference of going into a Sephora, where you've got technology and knowledgeable staff members and a great variety of product, versus going into a Walgreens where there's just a row of a bunch of stuff that's hidden behind plastic that you can't try on — certainly, that more engaging experience is going to appeal to this generation," Jared Blank, senior vice president of data and insights at Bluecore, told Retail Dive last year.
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. Its tech focus and high-touch approach set it apart from Ulta, too.
"As we look back at our 20 years in the retail landscape, 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," Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora's EVP of U.S. Omni Retail, said in a statement. "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."