Sephora pioneers digital experience

Selective retailing


E-commerce and offline commerce continue to converge, with a host of initiatives that blend the two spheres to create a seamless whole. This momentum is driven by ongoing optimization of the purchasing experience, as more and more brands bring digital innovation into traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.

Long a pioneer in this area, Sephora is one of the most advanced brands in digitizing its stores. This strategy is embedded in the brand’s digital ecosystem, earning it the No. 1 ranking in the L2 digital IQ Index* released in June 2013. This strategy also led to Sephora’s recent acquisition of Scentsa, a startup it has been working with since 2008 to develop touchscreen sale aids in stores.

Sephora considers digital first and foremost as a way to optimize service and strengthen customer relations. The  popular “My Sephora” mobile app is thus centered on personalization and nurturing customer loyalty.

In addition to creating quality interaction with customers, the app—which is available for sales associates and runs on the iPod Touch—provides personalized product advice for the brand’s eight million loyalty program members. By mining customer data such as purchase history, shopping habits and profiles of similar customers, sales teams can suggest and recommend products from the 17,000 different ones Sephora carries and be more closely aligned with customer expectations.

In providing personalized information on available products and product details, Sephora has revolutionized the in-store experience with a service that’s both practical and lots of fun.

A few figures:

– 17,000 products
– 6 million visitors a year to the Sephora flagship store on the Champs Elysées in Paris (more than the Eiffel Tower!)
– 300 stores France, 1,700 stores worldwide