News Feature | April 16, 2014

Zappos, Sephora Leverage Selfies For Customer Engagement, Sales

By Hannah Ash, contributing writer

Selfie Retail Strategy At Zappos And Sephora

Innovative Retailers Find Ways To Incorporate The Selfie Into Shopping

Over one million selfies are taken each day and savvy retailers are finding ways to take advantage of a phenomenon that appears to be here to stay. The ‘selfie’ is so popular, in fact, that over 30 percent of photographs taken by the aged 18-24 demographic are self-portraits. The power of the selfie should not be underestimated as data released this year shows that 71 percent of consumers are likely to make a purchase based upon social media referrals. From finding ways to encourage selfie-taking to using selfies as a way to spark consumer conversations, several fashion retailers are looking to convert selfies and user-generated content into engagement and sales.

In March, Zappos launched a personal shopping service based on selfies. The online retailer is encouraging Instagram users to tag selfies with the hash tag, “ootd” (outfit of the day); selfies tagged with “ootd” receive Zappos personal style recommendations and tips based on the user’s Instagram photos. Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, states that upon seeing how many selfies on Instagram revolve around fashion, “we looked at [those figures] and asked as a retailer how do we be a part of that?" Also last month, Karl Lagerfeld opened a new shop in London with dressing rooms that double as photo booths. The fashion-forward designer is encouraging shoppers to take selfies and send them to friends and social media directly from the store’s dressing rooms.

With the help of its newly launched social network Beauty Board, Sephora is using the selfie to showcase products. Bridget Dolan, Sephora’s VP of interactive media, comments, “Sephora is really focused on bringing content into commerce, and we really think that [people] want a visual proof point [of how a product looks on].” Luis Sanz, founder of retail commerce startup Olapic, commented that he believes user-generated images are key to customer engagement strategies: “You’re really tapping consumers who are your brand’s best advocates and harnessing the way a new generation of consumers are becoming accustomed to interacting with your brand.”

Which Marketing Channel Gives You The Most Bang For Your Click?