I LOVE MAKE-UP, BUT WHO CARES?



We should all be watching what the "big guys" are doing

I LOVE MAKE-UP, BUT WHO CARES?


SEPHORA should care and actually anyone in business should care as well.

Why?

Because Sephora built their business model on me feeling like a Queen for a Day. I could visit any of their stories and try on every product (mostly make-up)...and not buy anything. Or buy lots based on what was in my wallet or on my credit card.

Sephora was founded in 1970, with stores that offered an awesome display of niche and well known cosmetics, most of which I could try for free. It was almost 30 years later that it introduced its own product line as a new profit center.

2020: COVID-19 ENTERS THE LANDSCAPE

March 17, 2020. All Sephora stores close due to the pandemic.

May 22, 2020. Just 2 months after closing all 460 independent locations, Fox Business reported that Sephora was opening select stores. They offered virtual makeup trials, no testers, masked employees and no touch check-out counters. Some stores opened and then closed when the Covid-19 cases increased.

July 10, 2020. NY Governor Cuomo allows those indoor malls who have installed modified filtration systems to open.This make-up giant now has access to a wider number of its New York clients.

But, can Sephora offer the same experience, in this new environment?

I understand I can have a virtual make-up experience when I visit a Sephora store. It's not a new concept. In fact, vendors have been trying that concept for years. In 2018 Amazon patented a mirror that shows us what we would look like in clothes we are interested in buying...virtually.

This week Abha Bhattarai, reported in the Washington Post, how industry leaders are trying to blend virtual shopping with the in-store experience.  All of this is based on keeping us safe from passing on the virus.

This augmented reality (AR) is not new. According to an article in the MIT Technology Review, shoe companies experimented using AR as early as 2012.

But AR got its big push in 2016 when Niantic launched the AR-enhanced game Pokémon GO for iOS and Android devices. It excited companies to see how well excepted the game and its technology became.

So back to the Sephora experience. There will be no testers, plus masked employees and contactless check-outs. Will this environment still make me feel like a Queen for a Day?

What is the lesson here? During this time of transition, we cannot just adjust what we sell, we have to rethink what we offer, how we offer it, and redefine the need the new experience will satisfy.


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