Sephora’s location-based marketing strategy


Nowadays, social media and mobile equipments become more and more important in people’s daily experiences. The development of mobile technology enables companies to connect with their customers immediately and directly. Many companies use mobile phone applications and integrate with location-based technology and service to broadcast relevant social and expert recommendations and also offer many related promotion and special rewards to all the audience.

Sephora, as a brick and click e-tailer, uses not only just traditional physical storefront but also mobile technology to promote its products and service. Sephora trying to use best technology, including apps, mobile and tablets to provide ad support customer experience. The mobile app of Sephora, called Sephora to go, focuses on the customer on the go or in the store. In addition, the app of Sephora aims to build brand loyalty and target the most loyal customers who can link and sync their Beauty Insider loyalty identification to the app so that Sephora can catch and identify customer experience and demand.


“We think the customers should use their phones in stores,” said Johnna Marcus, Sephora’s director of mobile and digital store marketing, at Retail’s BIG Show hosted by the NRF. “Your phone is in your hand all the time, so we’re using the mobile experience to transform the shopping experience.”


Sephora’s app has a special mode called “store mode” in its app, Sephora to Go. It has the function of barcode scanning, so that consumers can scan the 2D barcode on the product in-store to pull up product ratings and reviews and other product-related information. In addition, the application of Sephora also has the function of wish list. People can research and add items they want to buy in their wish list and access their account and the wish list from their iPhone app when they are in store or at anywhere. What’s more, the app also could send a notification to people when they near a sephora store. Sometimes, the app used push messages to alert users about some special events in specific stores, such as holiday shopping events, the new product launches, the meeting event with celebrities and so on. All these service lead customers to the store based on location information and help them save time and be more convenient to shop in store. And also the app can engage users through location-based offers.

One time, I went shopping and prepared to buy a birthday gift to my friend at SoHo. I really didn’t know what product was better and more suitable as a birthday gift. I’ve considered dessert, clothes, books and so on. Then, I got a message from Sephora app reminding me that there was a Sephora store nearby. So I just went to the store, got the best choice and a purchase after walking in store.

Moreover, people who are in the loyalty program called Beauty Insider can add their membership card and Sephora eGifts in the Passbook app from Apple so that they can instantly view the Beauty Insider points and redeem them in-store. “Since its launch on Passbook, Sephora has had more than 1.1 million app downloads. That’s most likely because of the app’s iTunes ranking due to featured placements for Passbook apps. As a result, Sephora has been able to get 400,000 new Beauty Insider sign-ups, with a significant portion signing up through the iOS apps.”

As we can see, Sephora used location-based marketing to promote its brand, service and products directly to their target customers and to make customers’ shopping experience more convenient and make their life easy.

“Mobile and the physical stores are merging” Marcus said.


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