Retail isn’t what it used to be. Shifting alongside the digital revolution, and now in the wake of the global pandemic, in-store shopping has and is still testing some very new waters. At the tail end of 2020, Kohl’s and Sephora announced a substantial partnership, and on February 3, their CEO’s are coming together for a very special CEW panel event. In essence, this marriage of giants opens vast opportunities for prestige beauty brands to reach new markets and audiences. Here, Moss Studio + Magazine explores in-store video in context of the partnership announcement and the Sephora at Kohl’s CEW event. 

A New Horizon on Retail Partnership

On December 1, 2020, department store giant Kohl’s, and beauty retailer Sephora, announced an agreement on a long-term and strategic partnership. Sephora at Kohl’s will mean a curation of prestige beauty brands available at Kohl’s stores throughout the U.S. to be implemented into 850 stores by 2023. More than 100 beauty brands will be sold via the partnership, and with a combined retail sales total of $25 billion in 2019, there’s no denying that the announcement means a substantial opportunity to renew shopping for beauty in-store.

Kohl’s has iterated that this is about sharing the Sephora experience with their customers; an innovative beauty destination within each department store. Given the extensive experience Sephora has with combining digital and in-store, this is a next step in ensuring a consumer-focused symbiosis of beauty retail.

Digital Harnessing by Sephora

Sephora has a deep heritage of leveraging technology advancements with traditional in-store sales strategies. Sephora’s Innovation Lab opened in 2015—it was dubbed a digital experience, the latest in cutting-edge digitization of the beauty sphere. Even then Sephora was seasoned in virtual beauty. With their YouTube channel, Sephora has been democratizing and sharing their core value of inclusivity and beauty for all for more than a decade. Video has been a marketing strategy of Sephora’s long before it became the norm.

The secret behind the beauty retailer’s success is the coordination of online and offline efforts. When something works online, it’s used to drive sales in-store. And when an in-store strategy works well, Sephora looks for ways it can apply the principles digitally. In 2017, The New York Times wrote of the cosmetics giant, “Sephora (…) offers digitally savvy customers enough technological doodads and computer displays to make a Silicon Valley engineer blush.” In-store video is an important aspect of this virtual/real-life experience combination, which will continue at Kohl’s.

In-store Video: An Elevated Shopping Experience

Immersive and attention-grabbing, in-store video holds the power to elevate consumers’ retail experience to a whole new level. As with all things video, the intricacies of making it work requires several aspects. For in-store campaigns, consider the aspect sound. Will a video have the customers’ ear, or only their eyes? This should inform how a video takes shape considerably; a well-edited and thought-out piece of soundless video can evoke just as much as one that appeals to hearing, too.

Secondly, retail video can mean a small screen at the end of an aisle, or a wall-to-wall piece of creative to wow and astound. While most videos can be repurposed and resized for different mediums, the most effective strategy is the one that takes canvas into account from the get-go. That doesn’t mean separate video campaigns for separate platforms – it just means raw material that will fit seamlessly into them all.

Finally, the question of the audience and their frame of mind should take center stage in the development of an in-store video experience. The consumer scrolling through Instagram is in a very different place compared to the customer browsing a store. Search for ways to combine a brand’s core with the expectations and aspirations of shoppers; take them on a journey beyond their physical location.

To see how Moss helped Fresh and Caudalie emulate their brand identity through in-store video, visit their Studio page.