It’s no secret that retailers could do better when it comes to building an inclusive environment for those who keep them in business — consumers.
In a National Racial Bias in Retail Study commissioned by Sephora, the brand finds five truths when it comes to racial inequality during retail experiences with the first being a lack of racial diversity within companies.
Here are those truths, as listed in a press release:
1. Limited diversity across marketing, merchandise and retail employees results in exclusionary treatment before shoppers even enter a store, and across their in-store journey.
2. U.S. BIPOC shoppers feel in-store interactions are driven by their skin color, appearance and ethnicity, yet retail employees cite behavioral attributes, rather than appearance, as the basis for their interactions.
3. U.S. BIPOC retail shoppers use coping mechanisms, such as shopping online, to minimize, or avoid an anticipated biased experience when in-store. While many customer experience needs are universal, BIPOC shoppers have some needs that hold greater importance in helping them feel welcome.
4. The majority of retail shoppers do not voice concerns about negative experiences directly to retailers — creating missed opportunities for feedback and improvement, and impacting future sales as shoppers take their business elsewhere.
5. Meaningful and long-term action is most important to U.S. retail shoppers and employees.
In response, Sephora has formed an action plan to tackle bias across all aspects of its organization through three key areas: Marketing and Merchandising, The In-Store Experience and Operations, and Talent and Inclusive Workplaces, according to the release.
The brand looks to build on its commitment to the 15 percent plan, an initiative Sephora was the first to accept, dedicating shelf-space to Black-owned businesses. It now plans to double its offering of Black-owned brands by 2021.
For in-store experience, Sephora reveals it will implement a new greeting system across all stores in an effort to provide a more consistent experience for all store visitors upon entry. To diversify its workforce, the company will build new recruiting, community, mentorship, and career development programs to support sourcing, hiring and advancement for employees of color.
“We’re proud of the work we’ve done thus far to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority for the company,” said, president and CEO, Jean-André Rougeot, in a statement. “We are stronger as a retail community when we are serving the needs of all of our shoppers, and hope other retailers will join us, with the ultimate goal of advancing inclusivity and improving the retail experience for all.”
To read the full Racial Bias in Retail Study, along with Sephora’s other action plans to mitigate racially-biased experiences, visit the site here.