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Sephora sees 150pc growth in mobile shopping over past year

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June 20, 2013

Sephora is seeing more consumers turn to their mobile devices and tablets to comparison shop, read reviews and, ultimately, buy their favorite beauty products.

As a result, the retailer has seen a 150 percent growth in mobile shopping. This is of course thanks in large part to the company’s ongoing efforts to streamline its mobile shopping experiences.

“We wanted to create the most seamless, enjoyable experience for our clients, and spent a lot of time thinking of new, innovative ways we could do this with our iOS app,” said Johnna Marcus, director mobile and digital store marketing at Sephora.

“We streamlined the updated app to feature four main functions that our clients use Sephora to Go for: to shop, to access their loyalty information like past purchases, to find a store that has the product they’re searching for, and to browse fresh beauty industry content,” she said. “We want to give our clients options in the ways they shop, and mobile is the future of shopping.”

New efforts
In addition to the increase in mobile shopping, Sephora has also updated its Sephora To Go iPhone application.

New features include making every product in-store scannable and letting customers get more information on price, ratings and reviews.

Furthermore, the app also includes new filter and refine features, as well as a quicker checkout that lets consumers scan their credit card, which they are able to add to their profile.

Consumers can also access their favorite products and view past purchases.

It is important that marketers continue to rework their mobile offerings to keep up with new technology, as well as their ever-growing tech-savvy consumer base.

“Sephora has seen a 150 percent increase in mobile sales this past year, emphasizing the mobile growth that’s so prevalent in the retail industry,” Ms. Marcus said. “Consumers appreciate the simplicity and easier access that mobile offers present when shopping or browsing for products.

“They like having the option of using their mobile while at home, on-the-go, or in-store,” she said. “At Sephora, for example, the ability to test a lipstick in-store, to ask one of Sephora’s experts in-person which shade matches your skin tone best, and to browse ratings and reviews of that lipstick on your mobile, all create the best, most integrated shopping experience for the customer.

“We’re dispelling the myth that people don’t shop on their mobile, and are excited to continue innovating and testing new initiatives in this space.”

Past initiatives
For many years now, Sephora has been strengthening its mobile commerce efforts.

Last year, the retailer strengthened its position in mobile commerce  and expanded its reach even more by implementing Apple’s new Passbook to drive in-store foot traffic (see story).

Earlier this year, a Sephora executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2013 conference said that its customers are increasingly turning to mobile to shop, browse and purchase products and the retailer is continuing to make the medium a top priority this year to further enhance shopping experiences (see story).

Most recently, Sephora announced that it was letting consumers collect their favorite products, organize them in one place and keep track of online and in-store purchases through its new My Beauty Bag initiative (see story).

“Digital innovation is and has always been a huge part of our DNA,” Ms. Marcus said. “Our digital strategy team lives and breathes tech and has the advantage of testing out and trying new things with our clients who have proven to be early tech adopters.

“We were one of the first to create a mobile website in 2010 and are consistently pushing the boundaries for the way we shop,” she said.

“Since Sephora clients are predominantly cross-channel shoppers, we’re always focused on creating new, and improving existing mobile initiatives so we can be where our clients are.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

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