ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

How Sephora’s new Android shopping app expands its education-driven monetization

Sephora’s latest mobile offering is an Android application that enables users to shop its inventory, scan products in-store to access how-to tutorials and watch videos, underscoring the beauty giant’s efforts to drive commerce with education-based content.

The cosmetics retailer is bringing its app to Android users in a bid to make its mobile shopping experiences readily available for consumers on all devices. Sephora is also introducing the Pocket Hair Stylist, a digital tool created to teach consumers about various hair styles and trends, the tutorials of which can be customized based on hair type.

“Sephora has had tremendous success with our mobile integrations over the years – we were the first prestige beauty retailer with an iOS app – and we view the mobile experience as an extension of our store,” said Lucinda Newcomb, vice president of digital product at Sephora. “With that, we also knew we have a large and loyal client base that is Android users.

“As one of the most ubiquitous global operating systems, our new Android app allows us to bring a native Sephora app experience to even more of our clients.”

Adding on Android
The Sephora app for Android devices is now available on the Google Play store, giving Android device owners the same capabilities and mobile shopping experience provided to iPhone users.

Beauty fans can leverage the app to purchase any products within Sephora’s inventory, stay updated on trending items, view tutorials and videos, access their Beauty Insider loyalty accounts and save favorite items to a wish list.

Users may also scan products with the app while in-store to instantly view pertinent information, such as reviews and ratings.

Individuals wanting to purchase items through the app can instantly add any eligible offers to their totals as well as choose three complimentary samples with each order. Each customer’s Beauty Insider information will appear within the app, allowing her to keep track of her points and redeem them for freebies upon hitting the designated loyalty levels.

Consumers seeking Sephora’s expertise when it comes to beauty can access team tutorials, product demonstrations and get-the-look clips within the app’s video library.

Additionally, any individual can book a Sephora class or service directly on her smartphone.

The cosmetics retailer has emphasized education as an important part of its mobile commerce strategy. Consumers who are unsure about using specific products or mastering new trends – such as contouring or color correcting – can take advantage of the brand’s plentiful tutorials, which may also inspire them to purchase some or all of the featured products.

Several weeks ago, Sephora rolled out its third Beauty Tip workshop in the United States, allowing shoppers to take advantage of mobile-enabled experiences such as browsing products on in-store iPad stations and receiving customized digital makeover suggestions that can be emailed directly to their smartphones (see story).

“At Sephora, all of our digital innovation comes from a universal goal to educate and empower our client to make better purchasing decisions,” Ms. Newcomb said. “While the transactional opportunity is important, product and trend discovery is the primary goal of our mobile experiences and tools, like Sephora Virtual Artist, Pocket Contour, and now Pocket Hair Stylist, which launched [this week].

“When you start with the goal of creating a better beauty experience, clients feel more confident in their product engagement.”

On-the-go hair styling
This week, Sephora also rolled out the Pocket Hair Stylist platform, which enables users to get inspired by the latest hair style trends – such as beachy waves and fishtail braids – and access customized video tutorials to recreate the looks on themselves.

Consumers can browse hair styles by selecting their hair type from a list of options, including curly, coily, straight and wavy.

The tool also offers product recommendations that are best-suited to a specific hair style or type.

Since consumers can pause and rewatch the video tutorials as many times as they like, the potential for driving product purchases remains high.

Sephora’s other commerce-friendly platforms also borrow from mobile’s extensive repertoire of technologies.

The retailer recently doubled down on augmented reality and artificial intelligence sales tactics by enabling shoppers to virtually try on false lashes, watch tutorials using their own image and engage via a chatbot to trial and purchase lip color (see story).

However, Pocket Hair Stylist’s inspiration-laden content may have an even bigger edge when it comes to fueling impulse purchases.

“We are thrilled for our clients to experience Sephora’s newest innovation with the launch of our Pocket Hair Stylist tool,” Ms. Newcomb said. “You can easily link to the mobile experience from both apps or on and it provides customized advice based on different hair types to create one of five top trending hair styles (i.e. beachy waves or Dutch braids).

“Once users determine the look they want, they select their hair type and immediately get video tutorials, step-by-step instructions on how to prep, style and finish their look, and a list of product that they can purchase or save to their loves list for later,” she said.

“Overall, the app allows for more immersive client experiences, including early access to new product launches and exclusive in-app content exactly like our Apple clients receive. We look forward to continuing to offer all of our clients an engaging and useful mobile experience as we continue to develop both apps.”