Sephora opens high-tech flagships in New York

Sephora is ramping up its conquest of the Americas. The brand already boasts 430 stores in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, plus another 600 corners in JCPenney stores. On March 30, the French retailer owned by LVMH opened its largest store yet in the region, located on 34th Street in downtown Manhattan. The sales floor comprises 11,300 square feet, fully digitized and stocked with some 13,300 products.


The Beauty Studio in the 34th Street New York Sephora store. - Sephora

“Sephora opened in the US 19 years ago with our first store in Soho,” said Calvin McDonald, President and CEO of SEPHORA Americas.  “It's fitting that as we round out almost two decades, we return to New York City to celebrate our largest and most unique beauty experience with the opening of our new 34th Street store.” The Sephora Americas subsidiary is headquartered in San Francisco, but also has offices in New York, Mexico City, Montreal, Toronto and Sao Paulo.

The company is the number one beauty and fragrance retailer in the U.S. (ahead of Macy's), but is also a leader on New York’s most famous island. “Sephora continues to dominate the Manhattan beauty retail landscape with 15 freestanding stores in New York City,” touted the brand in a statement about the NY store openings. A few days earlier, Sephora reopened its 5th Avenue store (9,000 square feet), which it has also converted to its new experiential concept store format, dubbed “Beauty Tip (Teach, Inspire, Play) Workshop.”


A Beauty Workshop station, equipped with a tablet and mirror for practicing tips and techniques. - Sephora


The store concept already made its debut last year in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto and Chicago. The redesigned retail environment’s strategy to attract and retain customers relies on a lot of digital bells and whistles as well as personalization. The store is designed to be a fully immersive shopping experience, equipped with a battery of high tech areas such as the Beauty Studio and the Skincare Studio. The store also promotes an educational approach with the Beauty Workshop, an area equipped with 26 tablet stations where customers can find tips, tutorials, determine their color palette or book a treatment.

The 34th Street store will also debut a Moisture Meter, “an exclusive new digital tool that accurately measures the amount of moisture in the skin to aid in the selection products prior to services.” The Fragrance Studio lets customers explore 18 scent families to help identify their own skin’s scent group. “Tap and Try” end caps give customers the chance to try on makeup virtually just by scanning the product barcode. The device displays the customer’s image on the screen as he or she would look wearing whatever product is being sampling.

Sephora’s digital and omnichannel strategy also includes a mobile app, as well as the 2016 roll out of its e-shop in six new countries, including Spain. The idea is to create a beauty community in store, on the e-store and through social media.

Sephora operates 2,400 stores in 33 countries, and opened 100 store around the world in 2016. LVMH says the retailer achieved double-digit growth in sales and earnings over the past year, but did not disclose specific figures.

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