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Why Brands Envy SEPHORA?


The intrusion of devices in our daily lives has completely changed how we interact. The availability of mobile devices has changed us into the Thumb generation. We want answers at our fingertips and before we realize we even need them.

Research data gathered by Google shows that we consistently spend more & more time on mobile every day.

Google research shows that:

1, Mobile first world: On an average day, 1/4th of the consumers are only using a smartphone.

2, Multi-device usage: 50% of the users rely on multiple devices throughout the day.

3, Mobile search: On a typical day, 4 out of 10 consumers search only on mobile.

Above data shows, we are spending more time on mobile, 170 minutes on smartphone vs 120 mins on the computer.

And we carry our phones with us, everywhere we go. That presents more opportunities for brands to be there for customers during their journey.

I covered 4 micro moments, customers go thru during their shopping process in my previous post.

SEPHORA has become the envy of a lot of brands because they are nurturing those micro-moments by being there every step of the way for their customers.

“In retail, you can’t think about the mobile phone as a threat. You have to think of it as a magnet to draw that client into your store.” Bridget Dolan, VP Interactive Media SEPHORA

The core focus of Sephora mobile marketing strategy: 

•  Social Media

•  Mobile Marketing

•  In-store Digital

When thinking about mobile, Sephora focuses on Utility first. They spent the time to understand how customers are using their phones and what is their search process, organically.

They noticed that the clients use their phones to search for product reviews prior to paying a visit to the store.

How to you show customers what is available in their local store?

Sephora used, Google’s targeted local ads, to target clients when they are searching for a product on Google. This worked well for Sephora because now the customer could see what is locally available and they can pop in the store to try it out.

added benefit…

Once the customer is in the store, Sephora’s mobile app encourage customers to see what they have purchased in the past and replenish it.

What are customers searching online?

Studies have shown that 69% of smartphone users in health and beauty industry, go to YouTube to discover How to videos and ideas on what to purchase.

Data by Google shows that nail care, body art, and hair care are the top themes searched on mobile.

what customers are searching in beauty


How is Sephora leveraging this information?

Sephora‘s mobile marketing endeavor is highlighted in the mobile app experience.

sephora mobile app

Their app’s focus is on being there for the customer during the journey that leads to purchase. They have carefully catered different features within the app that provides customers with a full experience.

1, Ease to shop, anywhere, anytime

2, Exclusive app only special deals

3, Virtual Artist experience that lets customers try out products

4, Daily inspirational and educational content

5, Book in-store reservations to chat with beauty experts.

What is their virtual artist experience & why we care?

“We learned quickly that people don’t engage with content that feels like a commercial. If we don’t put human beings at the center, we will get ignored.” Mary Beth Laughton, SVP of Digital, SEPHORA

Sephora’s team took this to heart and created virtual artist experience that does 3 things:

1, Video Tutorials: It taps into what customers are already doing i.e. going to YouTube to search for “how to” beauty videos. By offering tutorials in the app, Sephora makes sure that customers don’t leave the app to watch the tutorials.

2, Ease to watch: They have broken down each tutorial into tiny digestible video clips, so customers watch it, try it & then move to next clip.

3, Involve customers in the process: As Beth Laughton, mentioned that content must feel personal and non-commercial. So, Sephora, brilliantly puts You, the customer into the Virtual assistant experience where you get to try different products on yourself. Now, You have become part of the ad experience.

It plays into the human psychology because when you become part of something and put in the effort to try something out, you feel more invested in the product. This leads to an emotional connection with the brand.


So, why do brands envy Sephora?

Brands envy Sephora because Sephora has set new standards on how to be there for their customer during customer’s journey. They show tremendous know-how and deep knowledge about their customers.

•  They understand how customer acts online vs offline

•  They understand, each step of customer journey leading to purchase

•  What concerns/questions customer has before they purchase the product

•  They help to the customer with video tutorials, interaction, local inventory etc.

•  They understand what it takes to get customer into the store

•  And once in the store, which customer behavior can trigger an additional purchase.

Sephora’s unwavering ability to understand customer behavior and construct their whole marketing strategy around it is impressive.

So, as a Fashion Designer and/or Beauty Brand, what can you learn from it?

a LOT … let’s dive into:

•  Learn about your customer’s journey to purchase

•  Talk to your customers and find out what concerns they might have regarding your product

•  Answer those questions intelligently

•  Don’t focus on selling, focus on creating value for the customer and they will buy automatically

•  Understand customer journey first, then create your marketing strategy around it

Even if you learn 1 thing from Sephora mobile marketing strategy, you will be able to get your business to next level.

So, go out and talk to your clients, learn about them, be there for them and sales will happen. Remember, sale/purchase must be a by-product of your interaction with the customer, not the focus.


  1. Maddy says:

    Very interesting perspective. I do agree, learning about your customer’s path to purchase is very critical. I had to learn it the hard way. I was creating marking plans but didn’t realize that my customers rarely visited those sites. But now I research and talk to customers and ask them which sites they visit and then I work to get my content on those sites.
    thank you for sharing this information.
    love it

    • Vishal Kalia says:

      thanks Maddy, I appreciate that.

  2. Kill says:

    bookmarked!!, I really like your blog!

  3. Juliette says:

    Great detail about a super success story. A lot of in depth research required to make it work!

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