On May 20, Sephora Tmall Global Flagship Store was officially opened, bringing together more than 600 beauty products from 25 brands. As could be seen, Sephora is continuing exploiting China market with cross-border e-commerce to empower the omnichannel retail layout.
Sephora’s path to China market
In 2005, Sephora entered China market by launching its first store in mainland China in Shanghai. Since then, Sephora has expanded rapidly in major cities across the country with 247 offline stores in 75 cities nationwide.
In 2016, Sephora entered Tmall, a leading retailer that actively embraces new retail and rolls out an O2O shopping network covering all physical stores. After four years, the brand once again joined handed with Tmall to further explore innovative initiatives in the new retail space.
The official launch not only welcomes the official debut of 9 new niche brands including Sunday Riley, Natasha Denona and other overseas niche brands, but also makes online and offline linkage possible through brand showrooms and cloud shelves. Consumers can browse cross-border goods either in offline showrooms or on cloud shelves, and use mobile phones to enter the store and shop online. In addition, Sephora has also integrated its membership system with Tmall’s, to provide consumers with connected points collection system and exclusive benefits.
Sephora’s omni-channel strategy
In addition to establishing e-commerce stores, Sephora has also developed a WeChat Mini Program, which will integrate a series of user functions such as online shopping, membership management and offline store services, together with WeChat Official Account, WeChat Pay, Moments Ads and other Tencent eco-intelligent retail tools, to achieve effective cooperation and seamless integration between online and offline channels, and drive the continuous upgrade of shopping experience.
Sephora also experimented live-streaming function in April, where more than 100 exclusive seasonal products from 43 brands were released. With live-streaming, communication with consumers is no longer limited by distance, channels and number of people, thus a wider range of consumers can be reached directly through WeChat Mini Program, Tmall and Jingdong platforms.
Even more, Sephora is also working to create a exclusive social community to help consumers find and share real experiences with its products. Sephora’s professional team of beauty masters are also enrolled to answer questions and customize makeup for consumers. The brand believes that the community should be the starting point of the consumer journey, where consumers receive product information and real word-of-mouth through a dedicated community, and then turn to different channels to purchase, creating a full-scene consumer experience.
Looking to the future of the beauty retail industry, with the channel expansion, consumer upgrading and the rise of Generation Z, the mid-to-high-end market is bound to become a new battlefield for the beauty retail industry. Exploiting different channels for different markets and developing consumer-centric marketing strategies would always be the key to achieve long-lasting success.
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