We live in the era of continuous technological evolution. Retail market players focus and compete in the digital world. The days in which consumers were happy with any experience that allowed them to click on a product, add to cart and check out are over. In order to gain a competitive advantage, retailers need to offer an exciting, personalized and omni-channel shopping experience. Integration of digital and physical interaction are now at the heart of any retailer’s go-to-market strategy. The modern consumer seems to be more focused on the shopping experience than the actual purchased good. All retailers are impacted by this trend and the ones lagging to adapt are globally struggling to compete against their innovative competitors. An excellent example of innovation in this field is the Sephora Flash concept.

 

In October 2015,  LVMH group launched Sephora Flash Store, the first ever intelligent beauty store.

Flash Stores or pop up stores are short-term online or brick-and-mortar stores. These temporary venues are customized to fit the retailer’s marketing stunt, creating a unique environment that engages and interacts with the consumers.

 

The Sephora Flash store is a revolutionary new small store with a big digital punch featuring virtual shopping baskets and a digital selection of a wide range of the best selling perfumes, make ups and cosmetics. It offers up to 14,000 products from 150 brands. Interaction is facilitated by the most recent technology.

 

The first of these revolutionary boutiques recently opened at 66, rue de Rivoli in Paris. The 100-square-meter store (compared with the average 400 sq.meters for the brand boutiques offers an unprecedented of bridging physical and digital shopping channels.

 

Sephora Flash – Omnichannel Perfume Tester | Source: LVMH

 

The consumer receives information on tested fragrances through NFC. A group of tablets allows the consumer to supplement their physical basket with a digital tag, tackling the endless aisle concept in a smoothly integrated shopping experience.

 

In addition to popular Sephora services like the MakeUp Bar or Benefit Brow Bar, consumers can have fun at the Flash Bar, equipped with a large selfie mirror, a mobile phone charger and a Mini Beautic, the smart sampler developed inhouse by the brand’s Sephora Lab: it is a solution that allows customers to pay their products through scanning them and go out with a free sample.

 

Once more, LVMH has proved itself at the forefront of retail innovation. The retailer is not new to innovation having already adopted disruptive strategies for the sector including smart vending machines, augmented reality and beacons. The group closed its balance sheets last year with a solid 8% growth.

 

The future sees physical stores becoming ever more closely synced with the consumer’s smartphone. Top priorities will be to speed up the shopping process whilst making the experience more exciting and engaging at the same time. Online shopping will become increasingly compelling and seamlessly integrated to the physical world.

 

At WIB we are seeing the benefits of the integration between the physical and digital world to create more engaging and exciting omni-channel shopping experiences. This is not only reflected by the increasing demand of our smart vending machines, but also by the growing request of having a plethora of innovative technologies and marketing tools available to creatively engage the consumers on a range of different levels.

 

The retail industry is changing quickly and players who aim to win the game need to show a change of pace: the moment is now and the challenge is as large as it is potentially rewarding.