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Sephora sees 87K Passbook downloads a week after release

Sephora was one of the initial companies that took advantage of Apple’s Passbook. Others include Target, Walgreens, MLB and Fandango.

“Sephora is always looking to innovate when it comes to shopping and we were honored to be included in Apple’s latest release,” said Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Digital. “More than 70 percent of mobile traffic to Sephora comes from iOS devices, so Passbook is a natural fit for Sephora customers.

“We think the app is a brilliant consumer proposition, and as the first beauty brand in Passbook, we’ve already seen phenomenal success with the integration even as iOS 6 downloads have just begun and iPhone5’s are beginning to ship,” he said. “Most Sephora customers use their Beauty Insider cards in store and are eager to find out how many points they have, and we just made those steps easier by putting them on her iPhone, which never leaves her hand – even while shopping.

“With the Passbook integration, Sephora loyalty club members, Beauty Insiders, can now access their Beauty Insider card in the easiest way possible – accessing their points balance and presenting the pass in-store to earn and redeem points while shopping in-store. Being part of Passbook also allows recipients of Sephora eGifts a way to easily store, access and redeem them on their iPhone.”

Raising awareness
Sephora has been promoting its Passbook feature since it first launched.

Additionally, there is a clear call-to-action on the company’s Web site that encourages consumers to add Passbook to their device.

To date, there have been 342,000 downloads of the Sephora To Go app for iPhone and 82,000 Beauty Insider cards added to Passbook.

Sephora has also seen a dramatic increase in new Beauty Insider accounts created on mobile.

“We’re expecting the number of BI cards added to Passbook to increase as more consumers get their hands on the new iPhone5 and download iOS6,” Ms. Bornstein said. “Sephora to Go for iPhone is also currently ranked the No. 3 lifestyle app in the Apple app store, and No. 19 of all free apps.

“Sephora’s ultimate goal is for the customer to have a great shopping experience, and be connected with beauty experts – whether they’re at home or in-store, and mobile is a key part of this process,” she said. “If you’re in-store, you can access reviews, your Beauty Insider account, or read more information about a product, straight from your mobile.
“If you’re at home, you can use our mobile app to add products to your shopping list, check out the latest trends in nails, or see what trends the experts are spotting. No matter where you are, we can give you the most up-to-date and personalize information about beauty.”

Smart move
Implementing Apple’s Passbook into their mobile marketing strategies was a smart move for Sephora.

Passbook is quickly becoming a game-changer for brands and retailers and going forward, more marketers will incorporate the feature to drive foot traffic, as well as increase sales.

“The majority of Sephora customers are women, and women are tech early adopters when it comes to retail; they are leaders in mobile and social commerce, so we have the advantage of being able to test things out with them in a way that other retailers don’t,” Ms. Bornstein said.

“Since Sephora consumers are predominantly cross-channel shoppers, we focus on making their experience between online and offline as seamless as possible – mobile is the best way to offer this.

“We’re constantly looking at new ways to make our customers’ experiences better, and leveraging mobile is a huge part of that. We don’t have anything to share specifically right now, but we’ll keep you posted.”

Branding Brand, who developed Sephora’s mobile offerings, believes that Apple’s Passbook is the new email.

“Only now you can track redemption all the way into stores,” said Chris Mason, cofounder and CEO of Branding Brand.

“Our dashboard simplifies the process by allowing retailers to create, manage, and track passes from a central place,” he said. “We’re really impressed by the initial response, and the numbers continue to surprise us.”

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