Prior to visiting the new Sephora, I didn’t have the highest opinion of the brand. I’d visited the Sephora stores in Pacific Centre (downtown) and at Metrotown (Burnaby) but never had the best experience at either. Both Sephoras were usually very busy, making the shopping experience pretty overwhelming and unpleasant. I constantly felt pressured into buying a product that I wasn’t 100% certain about or could hardly find a sales associate or makeup artist who had the time of day to assist me with finding the right product for me. I preferred going to the quieter Canadian-owned Murale in Oakridge Centre since I was guaranteed to have at least one staff member available to answer my questions and to make recommendations based on my skin needs. Then there was also Shoppers Drug Mart‘s Beauty Boutique where I could earn and redeem points on products, as well as have a makeup artist or sales associate attend to me.
One November evening not long after the store had first opened, I decided to have a peek inside the biggest Sephora in Canada (so I was told). At first glance, the store layout was very pleasing: high ceilings and more than enough space to wander through each aisle. The store was ‘divided’ into four sections: make-up on the right, skin care on the left, hair care in the back (complete with a hair station for blowouts and hairdos), and fragrance at the very end. The top floor was for VIB Rouge members and resembled a hair salon. Like all Sephora boutiques, this one had a Colour IQ station but also had one for Skin IQ, which is really a multiple choice screen that recommends products based on skin care needs, not too different from the Fragrance IQ that recommends perfume based on scent preferences. The makeup station in the middle of the store appeared to be twice the size of the one in Pacific Centre, with several makeup artists waiting for a chance to give a customer a makeover.
As I was saying, I simply wanted to walk around the store to see what there was. I was immediately greeted by a friendly sales associate – Sherry, I believe – who spent at least half an hour answering my questions, trying her best to find the best products for my blemished skin. It was she who introduced me to Skin IQ and she who took the time to test some Kate Somerville and Origins products on my face. After my mini-facial was complete, she recommended that I see a makeup artist who could help cover up my blemishes for me. While the makeup artist was applying foundation on me, Sherry appeared with two samples of Kate Somerville’s Eradikate and D-Scar so that I could test the products at home before making a decision. What surprised me was that she even wrote down the instructions so that I wouldn’t forget what each product was for. Even my makeup artist praised her colleague for being very sweet and generous. When my makeup artist had finished applying makeup on me, she, too, gave me a sample of the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation so that I could try it at home. I returned home with a higher opinion of Sephora and an even higher opinion of its staff on Robson.
Every subsequent visit to Sephora has been very pleasant. I am always greeted as soon as I enter and always have someone available to assist me. Granted, this may be due to the fact that this Sephora, for whatever reason, is hardly ever busy. I have visited the store in the evening, during lunch hour, and even on Boxing Day, but have never found the environment stressful. The staff is always friendly and usually remind customers that any unsatisfactory purchases can be returned since Sephora’s return policy is the most generous of all (I have heard it has since changed but it is still pretty generous).
I have told everyone who works at Sephora how impressed I am with the customer service. Truly, this location deserves an award. In the meantime, I have no stopped recommending Sephora to my friends and I like it so much that I want YOU to visit the store and have a fantastic experience! 🙂