Sephora recently unveiled its first Asian concept store in Shanghai with a focus on the increasing importance of exciting experiences for tech-natives in the rapidly growing multi-billion beauty industry in China. Many big and small beauty brands are introducing new, innovative technology to draw in Chinese customers who are interested in immersive experiences.

LVMH-owned Sephora is introducing its omnichannel strategy that sees social and e-commerce channels integrated into the store. A new ‘cloud shelf’ provides customers with the opportunity to browse and order products online through interactive screens, activated by touch and voice. In collaboration with popular beauty app, Meitu, customers can also try out new makeup looks using Sephora’s Virtual Artist makeup app. Sephora also joined with China’s WeChat to launch a mini-program boutique that allows customers to use the app to keep up to date with all the latest trends and book makeovers.

“Our goal is not merely on retail transactions, but to build a social community for beauty lovers in China, driven by Sephora’s unique perspectives on beauty and authentic user-generated content. We believe this will transform China’s beauty customers from the current transactional followers to much more international and sophisticated makers and lovers of trends,” said Sephora CEO, Chris de Lapuente.

Many e-commerce and online retailers are teaming up with makeup brands to offer more offline experiences for shoppers with Korean cosmetic company Innisfree collaborating to create a space in Hangzhou, China where customers can use an augmented reality ‘Magic Mirror’ to apply virtual makeup. Payments for products can be made using mobile apps or customers can scan QR codes of products in-store to buy them online later if they wish.

Startup brands are also integrating digital innovation into their marketing schemes to break into China’s beauty market. 17Beauty has released self-service booths across Beijing and Shanghai where customers can receive personalised makeup recommendations through the use of facial recognition technology. Products recommended can then be purchased in the booths, with the products available updated every few weeks depending on user popularity.

“Compared with other markets, China has a very clear advantage with its large population for data research or marketing. It’s great timing for China to develop its beauty industry as people have a stronger desire to spend more money and invest more time in their personal image,” said Han Shuqi, 17Beauty founder.