Sephora's Plans to Expand in Australia and Tailor the Online Experience
In case you've been living under an unilluminated rock, Sephora is taking over the world. Literally. You don't need to be a beauty junkie to feel the magnetic pull those big black and white letters attract (because all of a sudden, like a zombie, you're inside wondering if there's a sheet mask tester and is that even a thing?), but it probably helps. Do you know how to use a Beautyblender? Have you heard of Korean fashion brand Stylenanda? Did you know they also have a cult product line called 3CE? Take a deep breath.
So Sephora isn't American. It's actually a French brand and therefore much cooler, non? The brand's name is a composite of two words: Sephos, the ancient Greek word for beauty; and the name Zipporah, Moses' exceptionally beautiful and generous wife in the bible's book of Exodus.
While the beauty destination only opened its doors in Australia 18 months ago, Sephora started its beauty movement over 45 years ago in 1970. It pioneered the open-sell concept we're all pretty familiar with today — concession stands owned by different brands under the one roof. Its point of difference now though? Exclusivity. Where else can you buy Jen Atkin's viral haircare brand Ouai AND an innovative sparkling blackhead soap by K-Beauty brand Caolion?
Sephora is currently working on tailor-made apps to create greater personalisation and freedom for us to experience on-screen, and also a service to place orders online for in-store pick-up (yes, we really said that. No more queues!). With that in mind and as consumer buying behaviour continues to progress from in-store, to online, to mobile search-and-buy, you might be wondering why you'll even need to leave your couch in the future.
Sephora's Global President, Chris de Lapuente, tells POPSUGAR Australia it's all about that little, tiny thing we're all chasing — it starts with an F.
"The freedom to experience the amazing beauty selection will continue to drive women in-store." And he's right. We were lucky enough to get a personal tour of brand's 1,200-square-metre flagship on the Champs-Élysées in Paris (you mad?), and after being clapped in by the floor staff of Beauty Advisors, we got to work.
And by work we mean swatching, spraying, squeezing and squealing.
The end result? We didn't buy anything we went in for, but a lot of everything else. Exploration mission accomplished.
And we weren't alone. There was a Sephora Beauty Advisor on-hand every step of the way, and Chris says this is paramount to the in-store experience — education. The have-fun-with-product kind.
"The Beauty Advisors are chosen for their energy and edge and because they embody the Sephora DNA. They are trained in category skills for skin, colour, fragrance and hair; constantly exposed to fashion and social trends in addition to being trained by all of our individual brand partners." Honestly, it was like having our own beauty posse.
It's safe to say Australia was ready for Sephora. Eighteen months after opening at Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, the brand has gone on to open another five stores across three states. The fifth being today's announcement of Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne. And we're promised there will be more. In the meantime, shop the eight products every Sephora lover will tell you to buy.