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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sephora versus Lush: the Battle of Target Audiences

Last week, one of my very good friends was in town and I was lucky enough to have her stay with me for a few days.
Looks just like us! Picture from

Because she lives in a small town, my friend always likes to hit up the mall when she's in town to soak up the excitement of the big city life (and the glorious shopping that simply does not exist in the Gillam Co-op store).

We hit the second floor of the local mall where two of our favourite stores are located. Lush for me, and Sephora for her.

Although the two stores specialize in beauty products, their target audiences could not be more different. True, they both appeal to women, but one sells high-end make-up for those who know what they're doing with it, and the other specializes in organic bath products for those looking to pamper themselves without feeling too guilty.

Each brand knows itself and its audiences very well. When we walked into Sephora, I'm not sure I even registered on the staff's radar, yet they made a beeline for my friend. Despite the fact I didn't plan on buying anything, I felt a little snubbed.

We walked next door to Lush, and the tables turned. The salespeople swarmed me like bees to honey (which, coincidentally, is a main ingredient in many of their products), urging me to try this new product and that new shampoo, and telling me about the latest sales. My friend quietly perused the products, left in the dust.

When we got home later that day, we talked about how left out we each felt in the other's store of choice. I remembered what I'd learned about marketing and target audiences - how it's better to appeal to one specific audience rather than saying "there's something for everyone."

But is that bad customer service? What do you think?


  1. Some wise words of wisdom Laina

  2. It's good to know your target publics, and also good not to judge based on appearances alone. :)