On October 13, 2023, Sephora officially unveiled its “Store of the Future” in Wuhan, China. The new branch was designed to combine various services and brands with technological and digital elements to create an immersive shopping experience.
The Wuhan store follows the concept of similar branches in Shanghai and Singapore, making it the third of its kind. This milestone marks Sephora's commitment to high-end beauty retail in China.
Talking about an immersive shopping experience means that customers are immersed in a carefully designed world that intensifies the brand experience. Emotions, sensory perceptions, and physical interactions play a central role. Through technology, aesthetic design, interactivity, and thoughtful staging, a strong connection is forged between customers and retailers or brands that goes well beyond the typical shopping act.
For the third of its groundbreaking concept stores, Sephora chose a prestigious location: on the Chu He Han Street in Wuhan, the longest pedestrian shopping street in all of China. With the standalone building covering 700 square meters and two floors, the cosmetics manufacturer offers a carefully curated range of products, brands, and services. Additionally, this store is the first accessible Sephora store in China. With an internal elevator and an open layout, it provides full accessibility for people with physical disabilities.
Regardless of where the Stores of the Future open, they all share a unique immersive shopping concept. At the opening of the Shanghai branch last summer, Alia Gogi, President of Sephora Asia, explained, "The Store of the Future in Shanghai showcases our passion for experiential shopping, where consumers can enjoy a carefully curated and trendy beauty offering, as well as customized and personalized services and courses. Digital touchpoints enable unlocking customer journeys in-store." But what exactly are these touchpoints?
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Touchpoints for an enhanced customer journey
The Stores of the Future offer innovative digital touchpoints and personalized beauty services to enhance the customer journey for a unique shopping experience.
AI-powered skin analysis: An advanced skin analysis device operated with big data analytics can be used in-store for personalized consultations.
Look analysis: Sephora offers AI-generated makeup trends for inspiration and guides for the latest beauty looks with product suggestions.
Informed through RFID: Consumers can independently and extensively research available products in the store. RFID technology enables this capability, with stations housing RFID tag readers and displays. To learn more about a product, customers simply take it off the shelf and place it on the reader area. Detailed information then appears on the display, including authentic product reviews submitted by customers online.
Omnichannel service via QR code: Product price tags on the shelves always include QR codes corresponding to the product. These can be easily scanned with a smartphone, providing customers with not only more information but also the option to save the product in their digital account or purchase it online for home delivery, bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce.
Personal consultation: Beauty advisors are available to provide 15-minute skincare consultations and 60-minute makeup services, achieving an individual and perfectly fitting look.
Beauty Live Studio: Sephora gathers its community in the Beauty Live Studio for exclusive events or masterclasses.
Mobile checkouts: To avoid waiting in line, customers can make payments directly with beauty advisors anywhere in the shop.
With the opening of this store, Sephora, a part of the luxury conglomerate LVMH, underscores its strategy to showcase various products with the help of the latest trends while expanding its global presence. Currently, Sephora has 3,000 brick-and-mortar locations in 36 markets, with 334 stores in China alone. An additional 15 stores are set to open in the fourth quarter of 2023 in China.