By Sam Lewis, associate editor
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Beauty retailer recognizes mobile’s growing influence
Sephora continues to show that it is a leader in mobile retail with its latest effort to build hype for the store’s loyalty program through in-store signage. The beauty and cosmetics retailer is using several different creative, in-store signs, giving a call to action through mobile, to promote its loyalty program. In doing this, the Sephora mobile app has been given new features, allowing it to be easier to use to shop in-store and online. “The majority of Sephora’s clients are cross-channel shoppers, so we want to make their experience between online and offline as seamless as possible. Everything they can do in-store is also possible via mobile,” said Johanna Marcus, director of mobile and digital marketing at Sephora.
The signage has been placed throughout brick-and-mortar Sephora stores in an effort to educate shoppers about its loyalty program, Beauty Insider. The signs feature different types of copy and images informing customers that the Beauty Insider initiative has been upgraded. For example, one sign reads, “Ready To Indulge Your Beauty Obsessions? Permission Granted.” Specific to mobile, the copy then reads “Mobilize Your Membership,” giving customers the opportunity to a download a digital copy of their loyalty card on the mobile version of sephora.com. The Beauty Insider app allows users to accumulate points, see their accumulated points, select the rewards available based on points balance and redeem them for in-store items. The mobile version of the site also prompts iPhone users to add their Beauty Insider card to the Passbook app, which Sephora has invested in since 2012.
Using in-store signage to promote mobile fuels Sephora’s sales in two ways. First, it gives shoppers additional tools to aid their shopping experience, and it also helps build a long-term relationship between the company and consumers. “When you combine in-store marketing and the mobile experience with loyalty programs, it really takes loyalty to a new level, especially among your best customers,” said Jim Walz, director of mobile solutions for Alliance Data Retail Services. Sephora’s efforts to promote mobile show the retailer identifies the importance of it in a retail world that is quickly changing from traditional channels to digital. In the last year, Sephora has seen its online sales increased by 150 percent. “Ultimately, loyalty is an emotion-driven experience between the brand and the consumer,” Walz said. “Because of the personal nature of the mobile device, it’s the ideal device to make that connection.”