sephora

Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - Sephora Beauty Box
Image source: Sephora

Beauty and cosmetics megabrand Sephora is entering the subscription beauty box business, competing with established players such as Birchbox in offering convenient product discovery platforms to beauty fans.

Costing a reasonable $10 and featuring a theme (such as ‘Uncovering the Essentials’), the Play! By Sephora monthly delivery box will introduce five deluxe-sized prestige products as well as samples, application tips and a Play! Pass for one-on-one tutorials in Sephora stores. A themed Spotify playlist will also enrich the experience of product discovery.

The first box will launch with limited distribution in a few top US cities such as Boston in September 2015 before rolling out nationwide in 2016. It will include the Sephora Collection’s Rouge Infusion Lip Stain in Peony, Marc Jacobs’ Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer, Ole Henriksen’s Sheer Transformation Face Crème, Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil, and Glamglow Supercleanse facial cleanser.

Such ventures are disrupting the process of beauty product discovery, allowing consumers to access and try new items ultra-conveniently. The sample boxes also help to establish a fan base for specific products, giving them cult status and fuelling sales. Benefit’s They’re Real mascara and Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser are bestsellers on competitor Birchbox, with consumers returning to the site to buy full-sized versions of their introductory samples.

The subscription beauty box business is a strong market. Birchbox (which also charges $10 for its monthly delivery service) has grown exponentially in the five years since it launched with $71.9m in funding. It’s now the leading monthly beauty delivery service in the US and UK.

In the US, similar service Memebox introduces consumers to the Korean beauty routine, which, with thousands of products launching each month and its rigorous 12+ steps, can be daunting to Western consumers.

Guest post Stylus.com by Lisa Payne

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“While buying an Armani foundation at Sephora will set you back $62, and a Tom Ford fragrance another $140, the beauty retailer is now offering up its goods for a tantalizingly low price — $10 a month. Yep, Sephora is getting into the subscription box business.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Sephoa
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“Global luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, parent of – among others – beauty products giant Sephora, has acquired ecommerce startup Luxola, the company announced today.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Luxola
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“When Sephora launched in the U.S. in 1998, it radically changed the cosmetics buying experience, replacing the controlled department store counter transaction with a hands-on, candy store-style field day for makeup lovers. In recent years, the brand has aggressively integrated digital and in-store retail, and today opened its new Innovation Lab, a team and facility focused on “envisioning the future of retail for Sephora, and making sure that we’re staying ahead of our clients and the different trends that are out there,” says Bridget Dolan, a 14-year digital marketing veteran of the company whose title is now VP, Innovation Lab.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Sephora

Decoded Fashion - News - Sephora Augmented Reality 3D Mirror

Augmented reality has many applications in the fashion industry, predominantly it has been used to create interactive shop windows or responsive mirrors in-store. Uniqlo, for instance, implemented their so-called ‘magic mirror’ in some stores to help customers choose the ideal colour for their garment. In luxury fashion, Hugo Boss created an augmented reality game for their shop window in London. The jewellery industry has also found practical uses for augmented reality. Boucheron, for instance, created MyBoucheron, which allows customers to preview what a piece of jewellery could look like on them using their webcam at home.

It’s no surprise that the beauty industry is now turning a hand to AR. Last year, Bobbi Brown launched a print-to-mobile campaign using an app named Blippar that allowed customers to rate and purchase products on the brand’s mobile site when they scanned a campaign image that appeared in print (more about that here). The year before, Maybelline launched a campaign which enabled customers to try on different shades of nail polish virtually using the Blippar app and a photo taken of their hand.

This year, we have seen a lot more innovation within the industry. In collaboration with ModiFace, Sephora have introduced 3D augmented reality mirrors which show customers what different types of makeup will look like on them. ModiFace have also developed an anti-aging augmented reality mirror whose purpose is to show the effect of anti-aging and general skin care creams (more about this here). They also recently launched an app named Beautiful Me, which detects its users’ skin tone and eye colour and recommends products suitable to these (an article about this can be found here). Meanwhile, L’Oréal have also created an augmented reality mirror, but one that can be used anywhere, using just a smartphone – the Makeup Genius app. It also lets customers try out different shades of product.

The entertainment factor in augmented reality is significant, especially in the beauty industry, it allows users to play the “make-over” game without the hassle of smudges. Brands using augmented reality can be confident that it will create considerable press buzz, but whether these measures drive conversions can be questionable. Customers may enjoy using augmented reality, but it remains to be seen whether many of them will buy makeup based purely on a virtual preview.

Reported by Anna Abrell

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