Customers and clients of Sephora know the beauty retailer well for its bright environment, product assortment and for its discovery-based shopping model where consumers explore and test products on their own—a different approach than that of a traditional cosmetic department store experience. For its 20th anniversary this year in the U.S., Sephora turned to experiential to immerse consumers in “discovery” while giving the brands sold in its stores a lift with the weekend-long Sephoria House of Beauty exploration and show.
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Sephora took over The Majestic, a three-floor venue in downtown L.A., Oct. 20-21 and transformed it into a product environment complete with Instagram museum moments, demos, entertainment and master classes by thought leaders in the beauty space. Attendees purchased various levels of tickets in four-hour blocks, priced from $99 to $449. On top of demos, they received free product samples in exchange for tagged photos on Instagram, complimentary beauty services and gift bags.
“We knew that we wanted to bring to life our brand vision and our brand tenants of teach, inspire, play, in a new and very immersive and, quite frankly, more intimate fashion than we had ever done before,” says Jessica Stacey, vp-p.r. and event marketing at Sephora. “We latched onto the idea of Sephoria House of Beauty for our Year One concept and we designed it to feel like a play land for beauty lovers and to be truly differentiated from any other experiential event…so that when you walked into the House of Beauty, every room, and behind every door—every corner—there was a new beauty adventure for our clients to be able to discover.”
Among the rooms in the Sephoria House of Beauty: The Masterclass Theater, which offered talks by Hollywood hair stylist Jen Atkin and celebrity makeup artist Angel Merino; special guests like model Chrissy Teigen. In The Glitter Party, attendees were dusted in glitter with products from Pat McGRATH LABS, IGK and stila, enjoyed a sparkling cocktail and dancing. At The Fragrance Bar, attendees sipped on flights of cocktails, mocktails and sampled fragrances by TOM FORD, Jo Malone London and others. At The Makeup Vanity, attendees received complimentary brow shaping and blowouts by Benefit, Drybar and others. The Brand Neighborhood offered mini branded houses for shopping and photo ops. The Café offered samples, food and phone-charging stations. All in, 48 brand partners of Sephora activated at the event, representing some 800 SKUs. Sephora reportedly tracked attendees with RFID chips, enabling the brand to collect data on what consumers interacted with.
On creating a ticketed event versus a free one, Stacey says the brand did its due diligence in not only deciding whether to ticket, but how much to value the tickets at. “We conducted quite a bit of research to land on a ticketed event format that had a variety of tiers,” Stacey says. “We did a lot of focus groups, both with our Rouge members, top customers in our [Beauty Insiders] loyalty program, but broader than that to determine what types of experiences our clients would pay for, and what tiers they would be comfortable with.”
Nearly 5,000 attendees purchased tickets to Sephoria House of Beauty. On top of ticket sales, Sephora is looking at email signups tied to the microsite, how quickly tickets were purchased and social engagement to measure ROI on the event and engagement. Most importantly, Sephora monitored its Beauty Insider community page for comments and feedback. According to Stacey, Sephoria will play a “big part” in how the brand approaches and evolves its experiential program in 2019. Agency: Mosaic, Chicago.