When it comes to personalized digital experiences, Sephora sets the bar high. For the third year in a row, beauty pioneer Sephora ranked #1 on Sailthru’s Retail Personalization Index.
Sailthru's index ranks retail brands according to how well they use data to personalize and connect the customer experience across channels. This includes email, ecommerce sites, and mobile apps. And, no one does this better than Sephora.
Whether it’s in-store, through email, or in-app, Sephora meets customers where and how they prefer. The brand also wins customer loyalty through recommendations that keep shoppers coming back for more.
So, how do they do it? Let's find out.
1. Reservation Assistant
Let's start with Sephora's reservation assistant. It's never been easier to book a makeover at one of their locations. Through a conversational interface, clients tell the chatbot which service they need and in which store.
The conversational interface uses natural language processing (NLP) to hold a conversation that feels similar to chatting with a friend. All clients have to do is say where they are and the bot automatically finds them the closest location with a list of available times for appointments.
As we go through the rest of this list, you'll see that conversational technology plays a critical role in how Sephora delivers personalized digital experiences. When shopping with a brand feels like shopping with a friend (a friend that knows your tastes and preferences), brands unlock a whole new level of personalization.
2. In-Store Technology
Sephora also uses cutting edge technology inside its brick and mortar stores. For example, the Sephora Color Match is an augmented reality experience that helps consumers pick out the perfect shade of foundation.
With Sephora Color Match, shoppers simply hold their camera up to any image or face. Then, an algorithm automatically detects and presents the shopper with a recommended shade. From there, the technology will also recommend lipstick and eye makeup that compliments the client’s skin tone.
Again, the experience is made even better through a conversational interface. Relevant results are presented through a seamless conversation on Facebook Messenger.
3. Powerful Application
The Sephora application itself is one of the most robust cosmetic applications in the industry. It releases new exclusive rewards twice per week, which encourages shoppers to check back often for new deals.
One of the most innovative parts of the app is the in-store companion. With the in-store companion, you can find a store, check if an item is in stock, book a reservation, and keep your loyalty card handy while shopping. The companion can also alert a customer that a product on their online wish list is available in the nearby store.
4. Digital-to-Store Experience
The in-store companion is just one example of how Sephora creates a seamless transition between in-store and digital experiences. In 2017, the brand giant merged its digital and physical teams to create one unified retail team.
“If a customer browsed online then bought in store, we can see that. We just weren’t looking at it before, but it’s a win for both channels,” said Mary Beth Laughton, who had been the company’s SVP of digital at the time.
This move helped Sephora get more aligned and move faster across in-store, online, and mobile strategies. It helped deliver relevant, personalized digital experiences across every channel.
Sephora is an expert at "gamifying" the shopping experience through quizzes. By answering a few questions, clients can unlock information about themselves that helps them find the perfect product.
But, perhaps even more impressive is what Sephora does with the quiz results. The brand leverages the data for even more personalized recommendations.
Sephora's messenger bot uses this information to serve the customers’ appropriate content and suggest products tailored to their individual tastes.
6. Loyalty Program
Sephora's Beauty Insider club is a tri-tiered, generous rewards program. Beauty insiders get birthday gifts, discounts, and free samples.
Beyond building brand loyalty, the program also helps Sephora collect even more data to personalize experiences. Again. Sephora uses data from its Beauty Insider program to send personalized communications and recommendations in a conversational way.
Key takeaways for ecommerce leaders
Ecommerce leaders need to do two things to create personalized digital experiences. First, they need to find innovative ways to collect customer data -- and use that data to fuel relevant brand interactions.
Secondly, they need to deliver those experiences through a conversational interface. Sephora understands that the best customer service is casual and personal. To be personal and relevant, brands need to be able to have a 1:1 dialogue with their customers.
Ecommerce brands that fail to deliver personalized digital experiences won't keep up in the customer-centric world Sephora is helping shape. How does your business compare?
Find out how Hubtype helps the worlds leading brands deliver personalized experiences at scale with conversational apps that go beyond chatbots. Connect with our team.