Sephora’s new concept store takes a tech-first approach to retail, inspired by beauty vloggers

Sephora, the beauty retailer has launched a new store with a difference, creating a digital haven that encourages consumers to film their own beauty videos.

The new San Francisco branch of Sephora has been designed with tech in mind. The centre of the store has 12 seats facing a chain of mirrors. The reason? The retailer is pushing its latest initiative “teach, inspire and play”- TIP. The TIP model means that consumers can sit down to watch beauty tutorial videos via the iPads at each station, and play with the Sephora products to get the ideal look. If they want to upload a make-up selfie that’s encouraged too, and in addition to their own accounts, the photo will appear on the retailer’s in-store beauty board for all to see.

Sephora Americas CEO Calvin McDonald told WWD: “When a client comes in and experiences Teach, Inspire, Play, she’s going to experience it on her own, she’s going to experience it through cast members, and she’s going to experience it through technology.”

“And that’s where we really see our differentiator being and how we’re going to continue to innovate.”

The store which opened on November 20, is soon to be followed by a second tech-infused TIP branch opening in Boston in February.

This video focused, beauty vlogger inspired model confirms the move by beauty retailers to engage with their consumers online just as much as offline, and in fact merge the two worlds, finding the consumer at every step of their potential buying journey. According to WGSN’s Senior Beauty Editor Theresa Yee we’re bound to see more of this:

“Bringing online technology, especially video content, into the brick and mortar store is going to be the way forward for beauty retailers in the future. Sephora’s new retail model offers a great way for consumers to experiment with cosmetic products while watching videos on how to achieve the look before purchasing.”
Yee added: “Young consumers also enjoy shopping with their friends, so this is a great platform for them to try out products in a fun, interactive space. To compete with online retailers, where the consumer can read reviews and watch how-to-videos, brick and mortar stores need to step up their game and consider integrating digital technology into the shopping experience.”
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