Sephora stands up to showrooming

Stephen Whiteside

Over the last two years, the sense of panic among retailers facing the rise of showrooming – bricks-and-mortar shoppers comparing products online – has been palpable.

Sephora, a chain of cosmetics stores, claims it has stared down the danger of digital erosion and welcomed in-store online browsers, all in the name of driving sales and building loyalty.

Johnna Marcus, the beauty group's director/mobile and digital store marketing, told delegates at the National Retail Federation's (NRF) Big Show that it consistently has advocated the practice of showrooming, even as other retailers have panicked at the mere thought of it: "We have, for a couple of years, tried to encourage the idea you should use your phone in stores. I'm really glad we've moved past the conversation two years ago around showrooming and how bad it is," she said.