Sephora hasn’t been on British soil for nearly two decades, but now it’s returning to the UK market with a 6,000-sq-ft store in Westfield. The omnichannel experience offered to customers is mainly due to Sephora’s New Global Chief Brand Officer, Steve Lesnard, who brings his experience as CMO and Global VP of Product Creation at The North Face to his new role at the beauty company.
The opening party for the new store was packed, with Sugababes performing live and setting the mood for the evening. Black balloons filled the space, and champagne flowed as invitees to the new space took in the sleek black floors and cozy warmth of the lighting. Products lined the walls, accentuating the soft edges and double-height walls accompanied by textured finishes that emphasise the elegance and value of the Sephora brand.
Sephora understands the value of getting noticed
Sephora has long been successful with virtual events worldwide, bringing pop-up stores and elegant experiences to several countries. One recent event was in September 2022. This unique event is an excellent way for people to talk about the brand. According to Steve Lesnard, “following a successful virtual event last year, we are thrilled to bring SEPHORiA back again this year to even more visitors from around the globe.”
The store in Westfield, though, is far from a pop-up. The large space offers opportunities for numerous product options, and Lesnard acknowledges that the brand’s return to British soil is essential. Not only does it help Sephora continue to build on what it already offers and its locations in other areas, but it’s a strong indication that what people in London want in their beauty market has been heard and acknowledged.
Getting noticed is for more than just people who wear Sephora products. The store itself is focused on making sure people see what it offers and why it provides the upscale elegance London beauty consumers are seeking. Walking through the store showcases the quality expected from the brand. Various collections, hot trends, and an extensive selection of exclusive brands, are all offered for discerning customers who want to look and feel their best.
Fitting in but also standing out
While other retailers who offer beauty products in Britain have ramped up their product lines and offerings, Sephora is adding ongoing value by ensuring they have the brands customers want most. The store offers convenience when finding the top brands, the trending social media looks, and much more, so customers can set themselves apart or follow the latest styles. Having options and choices shows customers that Sephora is thinking of their needs.
Not only does the new Sephora store provide access to hundreds of product options, but the center of the store offers an additional experience. Customers can engrave fragrance bottles there and get professional skin treatments and makeup from trusted employees. This central hub is a space for customers to discover their options for making their skin look brighter, better, and more youthful and for choosing the right cosmetics for the most desired look.
In demand in the UK market
Steve Lesnard and the team at Sephora have been monitoring the UK market for some time, looking into what people there want most and the kinds of brands they typically look for. Being able to see and experience products in person differs from seeing them online. In-person options can provide better ideas of whether a specific color or shade suits specific needs. With the strong and steady demand from the UK, Sephora knew it was time to make a move to open a store in London.
Not only does the London area have a lot of digital adoption, but it’s also among the top 10 when it comes to worldwide prestige markets for beauty. Because people there want curated options designed for them and tailored to their particular needs, it’s the perfect place for Sephora to offer a high-end experience where customers can shop confidently and efficiently. Finding what they need is convenient and straightforward in the store due to the layout and thoughtful design.
A “democratic layout” was used in that products aren’t given any particular focus from one category to the next. Everything is essential, and every category can be found easily, so customers can locate and purchase the products they want most. “Sephora sees all its brands as being equally important,” says Steve Lesnard, so there’s no reason to showcase one section over others. Customers should be able to choose from all the brands the store provides for the best shopping experience.
The British beauty market continues to grow
While Sephora’s return to the British beauty market speaks to the strength and value of the brand, it’s also coming at a good time. The market for quality, high-end beauty products has continued growing throughout Britain, with virtually no end. The two-day opening party set the expectations for the store’s future, but it’s also a nod to the future growth and strength of the market as a whole. British consumers want good beauty products, and Sephora is committed to delivering them.
Sephora first entered the British market in 2000, with a store that lasted until 2005. At the time, the store couldn’t compete with other brands already heavily saturating the market in London and other areas. The opening of the new store was heavily marketed online and in person, with an understanding that moving into the market had to be handled in a way that made customers receptive. But now the times have changed, and Sephora is back in a big way for British beauty consumers.
Except for Germany, Britain is the largest European beauty market. The market’s annual growth is around 4% per year and is predicted to continue growing at that level or beyond for the foreseeable future. That’s excellent news for Sephora, as the company commits itself to taking on the beauty market in Britain and ensures customers get the valuable, elegant, quality beauty products they want and deserve without needing to buy online. They hope the shade or color is the right one.
Steve Lesnard is focused on taking the helm
As the current Global Chief Brand Officer at Sephora, Lesnard knows he can confidently bring his marketing expertise to the company. He has more than two decades of experience as a brand marketing expert and has worked with many of the world’s largest brands internationally. His main goal is to accelerate the omnichannel experience for the company and its customers and encourage consumer engagement while elevating the worldwide desirability of the brand for the future.
By bringing his strong branding experience to Sephora, Lesnard is more than capable of helping the beauty company expand its offerings and reach customers all over the area. With the growth of the British beauty market, this is the right time for the company to make a move and expand what it can provide.