While beauty subscription box purveyors are increasingly looking for bricks-and-mortar distribution, one of beauty’s biggest brick-and-mortar retailers is looking to get in on the subscription-box trend.
Beauty giant Sephora will begin test-marketing Play! By Sephora in Boston and two Ohio cities, Columbus and Cincinnati, in September, producing 10,000 boxes for the initial offering. In 2016, the concept will widen to an unspecified amount of additional U.S. markets. Consumers can sign up to be notified when the service will be available in their area on sephora.com/play.
The initiative is part of Sephora Americas chief executive officer Calvin McDonald’s stated goal to innovate or fall behind.
The Play box, costing $10 monthly, will be curated each month around a specified theme, and will deliver “the knowledge and all of Sephora in a box,” said Deborah Yeh, senior vice president of marketing for Sephora. The first box, Uncover the Essentials, offers five items: Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion lip gloss in Peony, Marc Jacobs Beauty Highlighter eyeliner in Blacquer, Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Face Crème, Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and Glamglow Supercleanse facial cleanser. October’s theme is skin care.
Yeh called Play “the third leg of a tripod” in Sephora’s retail strategy. “It will triangulate in-store, online and at-home experiences for Sephora customers,” she said. “Play lets her discover products at home, and each month we will include a ‘Play! Book,’ that offers everything from application tips and insider beauty hacks to fun facts and conversation starters about the included items. The Play! Book also allows customers to access enhanced content through the Sephora to Go App on smartphones. Simply scan the images to shop and unlock augmented reality experiences. Or connect to user-generated ratings and reviews on sephora.com, and check out fellow beauty lovers’ product content on Sephora’s Beauty Board.”
The book also includes the Play! Pass, a bounceback card into bricks-and-mortar Sephora doors which offers one-on-one tutorials for everything in that month’s box, she noted.
In selected cities, Sephora will host what it calls Play! Dates, in-store events for subscribers in that particular market.
Just for fun, a Spotify playlist is included with each box, and Yeh noted that each box will include bonus samples — for September, fragrance samples.