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Sephora magnifies mobile ambitions via in-store signage, updated app

Sephora is continuing to prove that the retailer is a leader in mobile with a new effort that builds hype for the company’s loyalty program via in-store signage.

The beauty retailer is using several different types of creative on in-store signage to promote its loyalty program in-store, with specific calls-to-action around mobile. Additionally, Sephora has added a few new features to its iPhone application to make it easier for consumers to shop in-store and online.

“We want our clients to use their phones in the store,” said Johnna Marcus, director of mobile and digital store marketing at Sephora, San Francisco.

“We recently updated our Sephora to Go app with features to enhance the shopping experience both in-store and on-the-go,” she said. “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.”

Mobile momentum
Sephora has placed calls-to-action throughout stores to educate consumers about the benefits of its loyalty program, Beauty Insider.

The in-store signage, which features several different types of copy, informs consumers that Sephora’s Beauty Insider program has been revamped.

For example, one sign reads, “Ready To Indulge Your Beauty Obsessions? Permission Granted.”

The mobile-specific copy reads, “Mobilize Your Membership.” Below there is a call-to-action for consumers to visit download a digital version of their loyalty card.

When consumers visit Sephora’s mobile site, they can log-in or create a Beauty Insider account. From there, a page loads that features a bar code that can be scanned at the point-of-sale.

The landing page also prompts users to add their beauty card to Apple’s Passbook for iOS users.

Sephora has invested quite a bit into Passbook in the past year and initially added 87,000 cards when Passbook launched in 2012 (see story).

Since then the company has promoted its Beauty Insider program and Passbook through a variety of methods, including email and through its app.

In this case, in-store signage is a smart way for Sephora to empower shoppers with tools to not only aid in research, but also aims to develop a long-term relationship with consumers.

By specifically pushing mobile, Sephora clearly understands the role that the medium plays in a multichannel marketing mix.

Sephora is not the only retailer pushing for mobile loyalty via in-store signage.

Target, for example, is encouraging consumers to download its mobile app while shopping through in-store signage. Target is tying the app download to SMS that in turn builds up its mobile database (see story).

Mobile beauty
Sephora’s iPhone app has also been updated to let consumers add their Beauty Insider loyalty card to the app. This makes it easier for consumers to view their points, know their tier, select their rewards and redeem items in-store, per Ms. Marcus.

The app has also been updated to include Sephora’s recently-launched Beauty Bag feature, which was previously only available on mobile Web.

Sephora has invested heavily in mobile over the years.

In fact, the company recently reported a 150pc increase in mobile shopping in the past year (see story).

“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, Columbus, OH.

Mr. Walz is not affiliated with Sephora. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

“Ultimately, loyalty is an emotion-driven experience between the brand and the consumer,” he said. “Because of the personal nature of the mobile device, it’s the ideal device to make that connection.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York