How Sephora evolves the in-store experience

Sr. Director, Content Strategy
March 9, 2020
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Sephora is driving some of the most exciting innovations in the beauty industry, from digital try-on experiences to clean beauty initiatives to engaging “cast members” in stores. As senior vice president of merchandising for color and fragrance at Sephora, Alison Hahn leads many of these cutting-edge initiatives. After speaking at the NRF Foundation Student Program about her career, she joined the Retail Gets Real team to share more about Sephora’s approach and where the beauty industry is headed.

One challenge Sephora is acutely aware of is the need to simplify beauty for clients. Education is key, and with easy access to anything online, customers need a reason to walk into a store. Sephora’s goal is to offer unique services and a fun experience through offerings like its highly trained associates (known as “cast members”), beauty studios, the fragrance finder and more.

“I think the role of any bricks-and-mortar location is not just to offer the product, but make it so that there's a reason to walk in beyond just the product,” Hahn says. “Sephora has done a really good job of that over time. And I'm proud to say that our … beauty advisors are the lifeblood of what goes on in a store because they're the face of the retailer and they're who the clients see every day. That's really key.”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about what makes a great merchandiser, how the next generation of customers is flipping who influences purchases, and the beauty of the beauty industry. And to learn more about what happened at NRF 2020, head over to

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