Because beauty retailer Sephora views mobile as a key part of a customer journey, it is doing everything to allow customers to discover, play and learn both online and in store.
“[Customers] want entertainment and they are not thinking about channels, expecting retailers will make it as easy as possible for them,” said Mary Beth Laughton, Senior Vice President of Digital for Sephora during her keynote session at IRCE. “Over 80% of shoppers use mobile before and after their shopping trip.”
Laughton said Sephora has a two-part strategy to both feed the customer’s mobile addiction and imbed it throughout the entire journey to inspire and teach across channels.
She said mobile is used to drive the customer into the store and online experience, while engaging and inspiring her to return once she’s left, creating engagement through various interactions across channels. Sephora provides location-based mobile messaging that is highly relevant and adds a lot of value for clients, Laughton said.
Sephora is also infusing chat into the customer journey, with its Sephora Assistant on Facebook Messenger.
“We know clients spend a vast majority of their time on chat and social sites, so we want to be part of the conversation,” said Laughton.
Customers can book a service or a class while chatting with friends. They love this experience and it drives traffic to the stores, Laughton said.
She said Sephora is focused on capitalizing on the mobile moment through products and stories. The company launches mobile exclusives and early access to events through mobile.
“We launched fresh daily content on the app, and we’re offering inspirational moments on the go,” said Laughton. “We believe mobile can be her in-store companion. On the home page we make sure her loyalty card is easily accessible so she can look at past purchases and points.”
One loyalty tool Sephora uses is to send customers who have had a skin scan in the store that provides a foundation match and color key a follow-up email listing a variety of matching products.
Sephora also uses mobile to inspire and provide play experiences. For example a digital makeover guide enables an associate to sit down with a customer, peruse a catalog of potential looks, and let her decide on the look she is going for. The associate then scans and saves every product used in the makeover. The customer is then sent an email with before and after pictures, tips to create looks and a product list of what was used in her makeover so she can easily buy the items herself.
Sephora was an early mover in the ecommerce space in 2010 with Beauty Talk, an online forum allowing customers to interact with associates, look at products and trends and ask questions. In 2014 it launched a beauty board where customers can upload photos and videos and tag products used. This is combined with millions of ratings and reviews and a robust set of user-generated content on the site.
“We know clients need to be inspired and validated by peers,” said Laughton. “Sephora continues to evolve beauty commerce to become more mobile first and provide a highly interactive and addictive experience.”
When it comes to play, Sephora has virtual artists that provide both augmented and virtual reality experiences so customers can try on beauty products wherever they are. Since it launched in early 2016, millions of shades and lashes have been tried on, Laughton said.