For a long time Sephora has been a big name in the world of cosmetics, so its of not surprise really that it’s keen to jump on the artificial intelligence (AI) bandwagon. But rather than concentrate on things like robotics, instead it’s using AI to become the world’s leading speciality beauty retailer.
“Digital and innovation have always been part of our DNA at Sephora, said Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s executive vice president of omni retail. “We are very focused on our customers, and we know that her life is increasingly reliant on digital. So we know to be successful as a retailer, we’ve got to be where our clients are, and give her tools and experiences that meet her needs.”
Instead of simply relying on department stores to sell its goods, Sephora offers its customers uniques shopping experiences through the use of various AI tools. One option they allow their customers is the chance to virtually try on makeup using augmented reality (AR). Another is to sample a fragrance using a touchscreen and a mist of scented air.
“It’s about being open to new ideas, and working with partners to develop the right solutions – and being willing to do things that maybe our clients don’t even know that they want yet,” said Laughton. “That’s how we approach things, and as long as we’re doing it through the lens of our customer and finding ways to simplify and enhance their shopping experience, we’re willing to put focus there.”
One of the company’s proudest digital achievements can be found on its website and is called Sephora Virtual Assistant. This AR tool allows customers to try on a range of different makeup to see how it will look before purchasing. It also enable customers to go through tutorials to help them achieve different looks. There’s even a new Color Match feature that uses AI to help match the right colors to the person’s skin tone.
“Sephora Virtual Artist is a really good example of where there was a real customer need,” said Laughton. “It can be overwhelming coming into our stores or shopping online, but this makes it easy to help you find your favorite shade and save you time.” Since the app was first launched it’s attracted more than 8.5 million visits to it. As well as the AR makeup tool, the app also features product reviews and ratings, as well as tool that allows you to try out different hairstyles too.