What the New Sephora Store Experience Looks Like

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman

Sephora will begin a phased reopening, starting with 70 stores across 13 states on May 22, however the playful makeup testing experience Sephora is known for will be on hold.

“While the retail environment will feel different and many factors will remain out of our hands, we’ve learned to embrace what we can control,” said Jean-André Rougeot, president and CEO of Sephora Americas.

Sephora spent the last nine weeks developing rigorous new safety and customer service protocols, dubbed the Sephora Health & Hygiene Guidelines, which include 48 safety procedures and extensive employee training. One of those procedures says testers will be for display only and suspends in-store services until further notice. The beauty retailer notes a suite of virtual tools, including Virtual Artist, are available to aid in product selection.

Additionally, stores will have restricted store capacities and shoppers will be greeted by a line coordinator who will ensure adequate space and service levels. Six-foot markers will be placed at lines in front of registers and store entrances. Capacity constraint guidance will be followed and store aisles will be designated for traffic in one direction as locally mandated. 

At the point of sale, Sephora plans to close every other register to promote social distancing and encourage customers to use contactless payment options. All payment screens will be sanitized before and after every transaction, baskets and bags will be sanitized, and plexiglass screens will be implemented in all stores. 

Sephora will be accepting returns with receipts for all purchases made just prior to and during the shutdown for 30 days after store opening. However, all products returned will be destroyed until further notice to protect clients and employees. 

The retailer will be offering a 10% discount in-store on all purchases for Healthcare Workers and Emergency Responders with a current ID throughout 2020 and in June will sell washable cloth face masks for $10, with 50% of proceeds benefiting the Stronger Together Fund through Tides.

Staff Hygiene

While it’s a given that all employees will wear face masks and Sephora will provide disposable masks for shoppers, the retailer has also designated a Hygiene Leader for every store. The position will oversee Sephora’s new Health & Hygiene Guidelines at all points of the shopping experience. All store staff have been trained and will work with the Hygiene Leader to maintain safety in stores. Sephora will also take all store employees’ temperatures at both the beginning and in the middle of each shift.

Prior to reopening, all stores will receive a deep cleaning and will be equipped with hygiene supplies and hand sanitizer throughout the space and store teams will be constantly cleaning throughout the day. 

“We are taking an intentionally measured and phased approach to reopening, putting the priority on the health and safety of our communities,” said Rougeot. “We will follow guidance from the CDC, government and health authorities in tandem with extensive supplemental safety measures, to formalize our new Sephora Health & Hygiene Guidelines, that safeguard the in-store shopping experience.”  

Select Sephora stores in Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona and Alabama will be part of the initial group to open on May 22. Additional Sephora stores are expected to open gradually over the next several months. A full list with updated information on store reopenings will live on Sephora Community.  

For stores that are not yet open, Sephora will continue to pay store employees and provide their benefits.

“Our people have championed our business, showed immense support for each other and our clients, and most importantly displayed true strength during these last nine weeks,” said Rougeot. “Although many things in retail have changed, some things remain the same--our passion for the joy of beauty, our desire to welcome all, and our focus on the client.”

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