How did mobile become the ‘glue’ in the Sephora shopping experience?
One of the driving forces behind Sephora’s success has been a strategic dedication to embedding the mobile experience into every step of the customer journey — before the shopping trip, in-store and after.
“Mobile really does become the glue for our clients between their interactions with Sephora,” said Mary Beth Laughton, SVP of digital at Sephora, at the Internet Retailer Conference and Expo in Chicago.
Ms. Laughton described the Sephora customer journey and the tools used at each step.
To draw customers into stores, Sephora employs a few different uses of mobile, including sending location-based targeted texts promoting a limited-edition product to customers who lived near the stores where the item was available. Sephora also creates daily mobile content to bring users to the site, and launched a Facebook Messenger chatbot which allows customers to book an appointment with a stylist
Sephora has built numerous features into its app that allow customers to utilize their mobile device as an in-store companion. With the Digital Makeover Guide feature, for instance, a customer takes a “before” picture of herself and uploads it to the mobile app. Then she undergoes a makeover, during which the stylist notes products and techniques she uses in the app.
Following the makeover, the customer uploads an “after” photo so that during her next visit she can pull it up alongside a saved list of the products used to achieve the look. After the visit, the customer receives personalized emails with pictures, tips and products to use in recreating the look she got.
At home, the customer can also call up Sephora’s Virtual Artist module, an augmented reality tool which allows users to “try on” products such as eyelashes and eyeshadow in-app and buy products as well.
“I encourage you to think beyond mobile commerce,” Ms. Laughton said. “Mobile commerce is critical and you have to get that right, but mobile can do so much more. It can inspire, it can educate, it can play with consumers.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What lessons can other retailers take away from Sephora’s use of mobile throughout the customer journey? Should all retailers feed the mobile addiction like Sephora has set out to do?