eTail West 2018

February 26-March 01, 2018

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How Sephora Integrates Retail & Online Marketing

How Sephora Integrates Retail & Online Marketing

By Brian Honigman


Sephora, the cosmetic retailer, has long been a pioneer in creating and cultivating a strong community of customers both online and offline, often coordinating their approach on one channel to drive results in another.

Their current marketing strategy is focused on blending their online and in-store experiences and promoting brand engagement via social, mobile and web platforms.

Learn what makes their strategy different when it comes to how they incorporate data into their omni-channel marketing components.

Sephora Uses Shopper Data to Integrate the Retail and Mobile Experience

Through market research, Sephora has discovered that their customers often use their personal smartphones when shopping at their brick-and-mortar locations. They found that these shoppers were often searching for outside recommendations, product reviews or better prices on the products that they were considering purchasing in-store.

Armed with this data, Sephora developed the Sephora to Go mobile app, which focuses on providing shoppers with a mobile experience that is catered to their needs. The app is designed to emulate the knowledge of a personal shopping assistant or a Sephora sales associate in that, it provides product recommendations, reviews, pricing information and a simple format that helps make it easy for a customer to purchase products.

In other words, the goal of Sephora’s mobile app is to give their customers the tools they need to help them feel confident in making purchase whether in-store or online without necessarily needing to speak to a sales representative or research outside sources as they were doing previously.



By noticing the habits of their in-store shoppers and addressing their needs witha mobile app, Sephora can better enhance the mobile shopping experience fortheir customers both in-store and online.

As an added benefit of the mobileapp, Sephora can collect more information about the habits of their audiencethrough the data that shoppers provide while using Sephora to Go. This can help them influence purchasing decisions inthe future.

Sephora Gathers Marketing Data to Emphasize Customer Experience

Another of Sephora’s goals is to focus on creating a quality experience for each individual shopper whether on the web, on mobile or in-store. In order to accomplish this, Sephora uses data gathered from their customer’s shopping habits to design informative marketing content that is both helpful to a wide segment of their audience and personalized to an individual shopper’s needs.

One way that Sephora can gather this information is by analyzing the actions that a shopper takes after being presented with a product page. The choices a shopper makes can help Sephora identify their customer’s intentions and design a more personalized user experience that accounts for whether the shopper is considering making a purchase, planning a purchase for later or ready to purchase a product immediately.



For example, a shopper that adds a product to their basket could intend to make an online purchase, whereas a shopper that searches for a local store could intend to make a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. Regardless, these two shoppers are on different paths to making a purchase from Sephora and thus will likely have a unique experience.

Sephora understands that they have a wide audience of visitors, and by offering multiple options, they can better cater their content so that a customer can easily make purchases on their own terms, whether in store, on mobile, or on the web.

Sephora Uses Data to Build Customer Confidence to Influence Sales

Sephora realized through product reviews and customer feedback that a common painpoint for their customers was purchasing a cosmetic product that wasn’t the right fit, which caused unwanted frustration for their shoppers.

To help solve this problem, Sephora created online content to educate their shoppers to make a better purchasing decision and feel confident with their selections.

For example, Sephora’s Pocket Contour Class offers tips on how to properly apply Sephora’s products and can recommend which products are right for a variety of skin tones.



By building customer confidence through product education and addressing the needs of their shoppers, Sephora can influence more qualified sales while providing a better online and in-store experience. It’s through these data-driven decisions that Sephora has continued to stay a dominant leader in the retail marketing space for the past decade.

When integrating your retail offerings with your online marketing efforts, embrace personalization and empower your customers with the tools and information that they need to feel confident in their decision to make a purchase. Look to solve any customer pain points to help ease any friction they may have with buying your products.

Keeping your audience’s needs top-of-mind and gathering relevant consumer information to stay ahead of trends can help you make better data-driven marketing decisions moving forward.

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About Brian Honigman: Brian Honigman is a content marketing consultant and the CEO of Honigman Media. He's a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and others. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHonigman

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