Sephora said it's planting its "smallest footprint" in the U.S. yet with the launch of freestanding makeup studios. The beauty retailer announced plans last week to roll out the new Sephora Studio concept across the U.S., with the first location opening in Boston this week. The studios will be about 2,000 square feet, less than half the size of a typical 5,500-square-foot Sephora store. Sephora said its smaller studios will be located outside of malls and are going to feature digital components and more curated experiences for shoppers. For example, order in-store and same-day pickup options for online purchases will also be available at the concept stores.
Total Retail's Take: This announcement from Sephora aligns with the company's goal to become an experiential retailer, as CEO Calvin McDonald discussed earlier this year at Shoptalk. The smaller footprint will enable Sephora's store associates to create deeper relationships with customers, enabling them to customize beauty product recommendations for customers’ needs and preferences. Constant evolution and improvements to the shopping experience are necessary for brick-and-mortar retailers, particularly in the beauty category, whose growth has outpaced other categories, led by Ulta. Sephora is working to keep pace with Ulta in the now lucrative market for makeup and beauty products. Personalized service is one way to do it.