(ETX Daily Up) – Present at the high mass of innovation Viva Technology, within the LVMH pavilion, the Sephora brand unveiled several initiatives articulated around digital. Soumia Hadjali, Digital & Technology Director for Europe and the Middle East, tells us more about these innovations intended to improve and personalize the customer experience, while at the same time drawing the contours of the beauty of the future.
Why is the presence of Sephora essential today in the aisles of a show like Viva Technology?
At Sephora, we’ve been committed to innovating to improve the customer experience in-store and online for decades. Following the Covid, we have expanded our digital offers and services in order to streamline the customer experience. We are confident that the past two years have set a new standard and that customer expectations will remain very high in terms of customization and convenience. As a leader in beauty and an innovator in this sector, it was obvious for us to be at Viva Tech to bring new solutions to our customers. We presented two major innovations at the LVMH Pavilion: personalized diagnosis, a set of digital tools implemented by Sephora in-store to help customers find the right skin care routine and the perfect foundation color complexion using sophisticated algorithms, and ‘SEPHORiA: House Of Beauty’, a unique and interactive beauty experience in a 3D environment inspired by the game, allowing participants to access virtual rooms offering content and experiences exclusive.
Can you tell us more about personalized diagnostic tools, which are emerging as a strong trend in the beauty sector?
We presented two major innovations: the Skin Diagnostic, already present in stores in Europe, which allows in-store advisers via a smartphone to diagnose the needs of customers in terms of skincare products based on the results obtained following a skin diagnosis. The analysis is done using a lens placed on the lens of the smartphone, which takes a picture of three skin areas defined on the clients. The application then analyzes the skin according to four criteria: hydration level, sebum, pores and wrinkles. We also presented MCIQ, a skin tone matching tool with exclusive artificial intelligence technology already available in our stores in the United States, and which will soon be available in Europe. Taking into account depth and undertone, Sephora’s new technology includes an essential element: saturation. To ensure a personalized match, the technology uses an unbiased algorithm based on a dataset of over 10,000 skin tones.
Virtual fittings have become commonplace, but it’s rarer to be able to get a free skin diagnosis. Why invest in such technology?
At Sephora, we want to give our customers what they are looking for: real experience and expertise by going to attractive stores. They want to be surprised and discover new products, new brands at each visit. We make it a point of honor to guide them in the best possible way. The two diagnoses we offer will allow our customers to discover a skincare and complexion routine that perfectly meets their expectations.
Is digital also gradually inviting itself into stores?
Innovation has always had an important place in our stores. At Sephora, the customer experience is constantly evolving. We like to go beyond our customers’ expectations, with the aim of always surprising them. We were also among the first to offer the click & collect service, a service allowing our customers to shop online and pick them up at the entrance to our stores. A highly appreciated service, especially during the holidays, when Sephora records a strong increase in orders. We have also developed ‘live shopping’, exclusive digital events during which our beauty advisers or brand founders speak live to our customers. We are convinced that digital can personalize and simplify the in-store experience, but we are also committed to enriching the online experience through personalized advice and the expertise of our advisors.
Is personalization essential today to convince and retain customers?
Of course, and that’s what makes us strong at Sephora! All our beauty advisers are trained to meet the requirements and demands of our customers. It is not uncommon for customers to return to a specific store to benefit from the expertise of a particular advisor.
Sephora also invests the metaverse with ‘SEPHORiA: House Of Beauty’. Is it a must?
It is a unique and interactive experience around beauty. This 3D environment allows participants to access virtual rooms with exclusive content and experiences offered by our partner brands. Thanks to SEPHORiA, users can have fun by wandering virtually from one room to another, but also discover the world of Sephora and the brands we recommend. For example, they can interact in the ‘Family Room’, a space dedicated to live conversations, and meet brand creators who have participated in Sephora’s ‘Accelerate’ program in the United States, which aims to promote entrepreneurship in the beauty.
What will beauty look like in ten years at Sephora?
We will continue to develop a diverse, varied and innovative offer, which makes us successful with our customers, while remaining inclusive and defending values such as authenticity and commitment, in particular through our ‘Good For’ program in Europe, which offers a repository for deciphering products around four pillars: ‘Good for You’, ‘Good for Vegan’, ‘Good for the Planet’ and ‘Good for Recycling’. Digital will of course have a large part in the world of tomorrow, and we will continue to develop tools that best serve to satisfy and inspire our customers. We are convinced that the store will always have its place in the prestige beauty of tomorrow, and that innovation will continue to enrich and simplify the experience.
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“Digital can personalize and simplify the in-store experience” (Soumia Hadjali – Sephora)
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