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How Amazon and Prestige Beauty Are Reshaping Sephora

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured
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Whose retail experience inspires Calvin McDonald, Sephora Americas president and CEO? Apple and Tesla.

“They [Tesla] have completely changed the industry," McDonald noted. "That’s disruptive."

Further reading: What is the Sephora Shopper Seeking?

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In a conversation with CEW chairwoman Jill Scalamandre (SVP, philosophy and CMO, Coty Skincare, Coty Inc.), McDonald cast an eye beyond the traditional borders of beauty to identify opportunities and challenges for Sephora.

“The success of Sephora is finding the harmony between exclusive, limited and broad brands."

Previously: Is This the Beauty Retail Concept of the Future?

He explained that Amazon has played a role in both satisfying and creating consumer demand. In addition the giant online retailer has become a threat for the industry because of its status as a mass merchant.

With Amazon looming on the horizon, it's no surprise that Sephora's recent retail innovation, the Beauty Tip Workshop, delivers on a combination of brick-and-mortar, mobile and digital channels. At the same time, Sephora has sought to bring its beauty experience to the consumer's home with its Play By Sephora beauty box program.

“We’re committed to growing prestige,” McDonald said during the CEW event. He added, “The success of Sephora is finding the harmony between exclusive, limited and broad brands."

He added that, if the retailer can grow prestige, it will "win."

In addition, Sephora is pushing for a stronger collaboration globally, particularly skin care in Asia.

“The Asian market is more developed in skin care,” McDonald told GCI.

He added that a leading example of Sephora’s success in Asia is its K-beauty concept.

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