Sephora bows high-tech store

Sephora has opened a tech-heavy concept store in Chicago. It's the fourth location for the Sephora Beauty TIP Workshop featuring a host of new technology and an example of the company's next-generation format.

The 10,040-sq.-ft. store is on Chicago's Michigan Avenue and is not just the fourth new prototype, but the fourth largest in the chain. It includes 13,000 products and an array of services and classes intended to create a "one-of-a-kind, individualized experience, every time," according to the company.
“We’re thrilled to expand our reimagined Sephora Beauty TIP Workshop experience to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, one of the premier shopping destinations in the country,” said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO of Sephora Americas. “Every detail works collectively to create a space for our clients to Beauty Together, offering an incomparable level of integrated physical and digital designed to teach and inspire our community of beauty enthusiasts, partnered with an unparalleled assortment of prestige-only beauty that engages them to play and discover what works best for them.”

Sephora has been developing a range of digital tools that enhance the store experience and utilize digital and mobile technology. The new store features new incarnations of this technology and debuts two new ones.

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At the heart of the store is The Beauty Workshop, a sleek table that acts as a central workstation where associates assist shoppers and host classes using Sephora's Virtual Artist technology on integrated iPad stations or from The Beauty Board, a shoppable gallery showcasing user-generated content on a large digital screen.

Each station is equipped with its own product, iPad, USB port and Wi-Fi, so shoppers can play, browse and share looks on the digital screen and online while seated.

The Sephora Beauty Studio is a 14-seat area for one-on-one makeovers and is the first location to have the new Digital Makeover Guide, an interactive face chart that is a record of the specific service the client received combined with customized product and application tips. Customers can have it sent via email and it is the first digital take-home-tool to be offered by the retailer.

There are large stations featuring Sephora + Pantone Color IQ touchscreens for foundation, lip and concealer shade matching, and new mirror and canopy lighting fixtures for maximum light exposure. Shoppers can make appointments online before coming to the store.

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Also new in Chicago is the Fragrance Studio, described as "a first-to-market sensory technology," called InstaScent. Developed in partnership with 5th Screen Digital and available exclusively at Sephora, InstaScent lets shoppers explore families of scent and sample favorites. Bottles can be customized with complimentary engraving and then gift wrapped.

The Chicago store is also among the first to feature a Skincare Studio offering mini-facials in an area with a working sink and four well-lit seated stations.

Like all new locations, the store features digital signage throughout, as well as brighter lighting, a larger cash wrap, additional mobile POS stations, easier-to-shop fixtures, enhanced gifting stations and more impactful brand imagery.

Other prototype locations are located in San Francisco, Boston and Toronto.