Sephora launches store-branded credit card program
Sephora on Thursday announced the launch of a new credit card program, which will include the Sephora Credit Card, Sephora Visa Credit Card and Sephora Visa Signature Credit Card, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Cardholders will receive credit card rewards in addition to the rewards earned through the retailer's already robust Beauty Insider loyalty program. Those who apply for a card who are not yet loyalty members will be automatically enrolled in it. Sephora Visa Signature cardholders will also get Visa Signature benefits.
To start with, the Sephora Credit Card and Sephora Visa Credit Card will be available in select markets in the spring, expanding to U.S. standalone stores and the retailer's website later on, per the press release.
Sephora's loyalty efforts took a different turn this week, as the retailer announced store-branded credit card options as another avenue for customers to earn rewards.
The specialty beauty player had already made changes to its loyalty program this year, adding more perks to the Beauty Insider Program in January. That's on top of increased rewards the retailer introduced in August last year and a members-only social platform launched the year before. As a result, Sephora has become widely known for its loyalty offerings, along with competitor Ulta, which both count loyalty among their top assets.
Interestingly, Sephora is going against the grain with this particular move, as many retailers have begun to stray away from store-branded credit cards and offer loyalty tiers that don't require cards. In some ways, that trend is a product of the lighter returns that retailers are getting from their credit cards, although it's also become tougher to convince young consumers to sign up for another credit card with the economic recession not far in the rearview mirror.
Still, store-branded credit cards have far from disappeared and some retailers are setting up even more barriers to their programs rather than taking them away — primarily by charging an annual fee to gain loyalty benefits (Wayfair and Lululemon are two recent retailers who have picked up that strategy).
Sephora's Senior Vice President of CRM and Loyalty Andrea Zaretsky called the Sephora Credit Card a "natural next step in our loyalty journey" in a company statement, emphasizing the integration into customers' everyday lives.
"The launch of the Sephora Credit Card exemplifies Sephora's loyalty philosophy in every sense; it considers all the most-loved aspects of Sephora — the amazing product, services, experiences and personalization — taking our client experience to the next level through special access, rewards and perks," she said.
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