Sephora adds choices and personalization to rewards program

Discussion
Photo: Sephora
Jan 09, 2019
Tom Ryan

Sephora has updated its Beauty Insider rewards program, adding more choices and personalization.

The first change is providing members with choices around birthday gifts. Insiders (free to join) gain two gift options while VIB ($350 annual spend) and Rouge ($1,000 annual spend) get four gift options.

The third gift option for VIB and Rouge members is available via the new, online Birthday Boutique during the member’s birthday months with the gifts changing throughout the year. The fourth option for VIB and Rouge members is to opt to add 250 bonus points to their accounts in lieu of the free birthday gift.

Sephora is also providing other rewards flexibility to VIB or Rouge members. Any member who already is, or becomes, a VIB or Rouge in 2019 may choose one of three benefits for the year, beginning mid-January:

  • Points: Rouge members can add 750 points to their account and VIB can add 500 points;
  • Shareable Makeovers: Rouge members may opt to share four Makeup Deluxe Full-Face Makeover experiences with friends (valued at $200) over the year, while VIB members may keep or share two ($100 value);
  • Free shipping: Rouge members may choose free Flash (two-day) shipping, while VIB members may elect to receive free shipping for orders over $35.

“Not only are we offering more rewards, but we are offering more choice at every rewards moment to make her journey feel personal,” said Andrea Zaretsky, SVP of CRM and Loyalty for Sephora, in a statement.

Components of the program remaining the same include the Point Multiplier: Insiders receive 1 point per $1 spent, VIB members receive 1.25 points per $1 and Rouge members receive 1.5 points per $1. VIB and Rouge members can redeem their points for full-size products monthly, while Rouge members can redeem 2,500 points for a $100 gift card. Rouge members also gain early access to product and invites to exclusive events.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see the upgrades to Sephora’s Beauty Insider helping to personalize the program for members? Will members find so many choices beneficial or confusing?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It sounds like Sephora has listened to its customers and is moving forward accordingly. It’s definitely a step towards real personalization."
"While it’s smart to offer customers multiple options, this program may be better executed online where it won’t increase line wait times in already busy physical stores."
"...it’s nice to see that Sephora is actively trying to give its customers more control over their rewards rather than opting for a one size fits all approach."

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10 Comments on "Sephora adds choices and personalization to rewards program"


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Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

As a member of Ulta’s Ultamate Rewards program, all I care about is the number of points available to redeem. I’m sure there are other benefits but I can’t tell you what they are because they don’t mean anything to me.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider program does have a lot to keep track of. Casual members will likely be confused – or not care – but hard core members will appreciate the choices offered.

So many loyalty programs are just a mixture of the same old, same old. It sounds like Sephora has listened to its customers and is moving forward accordingly. It’s definitely a step towards real personalization.

Joan Treistman
BrainTrust

Upgrades to Sephora’s Beauty Insider program will further engage its customers. Yes, it’s confusing but it sure looks plentiful. Associates at the check-out can explain what is being offered at that point in time. Sephora will have to determine if it’s all worthwhile for their bottom line. Right now, it’s probably confusing for Sephora.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I am already confused!

Jennifer McDermott
Guest

One of the best things are about the Sephora Beauty Insider program is that the benefits are so visible and this upgrade will only strengthen this. If being able to choose more is confusing to customers, I imagine they’ll soon get past that!

Evan Snively
BrainTrust
Sephora has done a phenomenal job with their loyalty program, and this is another elevated step up. The key to successful customer-selected personalization is implementing at the right time in the customer journey. Too soon and the member might not be familiar enough to make a meaningful decision. Too late and the brand may have lost its momentum. I think Sephora is clever to allow for personalization at BOTH the VIB and Rouge stages as opposed to assigning it as a static perk unlocked at one or the other. The perk that stands out the most to me is the shareable makeovers. Providing members the ability to gift something to their peers isn’t just an acquisition strategy, but it is a very effective retention strategy as well. It creates an easy channel for the member to outwardly self-identify and endorse the brand (making their brand affinity stickier) and they might actually get MORE utility out of the social status earned within their peer group by gifting the makeover than they would have out of simply… Read more »
Jasmine Glasheen
BrainTrust

I recently saw this program in action at my local Sephora and waited in line for five minutes when a more mature (older) customer deliberated between a birthday gift of some type of skincare and Kat Von D’s liquid liner. While it’s smart to offer customers multiple options, this program may be better executed online where it won’t increase line wait times in already busy physical stores.

Phil Rubin
BrainTrust
7 months 11 days ago

Sephora continues to lead the beauty category and is smartly evolving one of the leading speciality retail programs. For engaged members the choices are indeed beneficial. As much as there might be confusion, beauty is a category with such emotional attributes that the added benefits and choice will ultimately be relevant.

Georgeanne’s comments below underscore some of what differentiates Ulta from Sephora – the former’s program is significantly more transactional than Sephora’s, which balances transactional value with relationship building loyalty back to the member.

Best practices in loyalty marketing include evolving the published proposition and Sephora embodies this wholeheartedly.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Consumers like choices, especially if it involves free gifts and special perks. While there are a lot of variables in the rewards program, customers should be able to figure it out. When it comes to rewards, consumers pay attention.

Sephora continues to surprise and delight its reward members with new ways to earn and redeem points, which keeps customer engaged. With significantly better rewards for members that reach higher spending thresholds, it encourages shoppers that are close to reaching a more premium status to spend more at Sephora. The objective is engagement and it is like a form of gamification without a game. Kudos to Sephora.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

More personalization is a good thing. But … this is a lot of general offers under the guise of personalization. A truly personalized program would only share the relevant promos to the right consumers at the right time, it would only give them the spend information they needed to add value or shift their behavior, and it wouldn’t have program tiers because it’s all run 1:1. I do think Sephora’s program is a step in the right direction; however, technology today allows for so much more.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

Reading through this, it does seem like a lot of options but also the method of accumulating and then redeeming points is also somewhat confusing. 1.25 points per $1? It’s hard to make that stick in the mind. That said it’s nice to see that Sephora is actively trying to give its customers more control over their rewards rather than opting for a one size fits all approach.

I like how some of the benefits are shareable with friends and family. Being able to have a makeover together seems like the sort of enjoyable in-store activity that people want to do together with the added benefit of the guest potentially being swayed to become a member themselves.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It sounds like Sephora has listened to its customers and is moving forward accordingly. It’s definitely a step towards real personalization."
"While it’s smart to offer customers multiple options, this program may be better executed online where it won’t increase line wait times in already busy physical stores."
"...it’s nice to see that Sephora is actively trying to give its customers more control over their rewards rather than opting for a one size fits all approach."

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