Published on 8th of March, 2023

What Sephora Can Teach You About Online Marketing and Branding

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It’s no secret that traditional methods of marketing cosmetics have had their limitations, particularly in the explosion of social media.

We are finally seeing a shift towards something more cohesive and personalized, with social media being formalized to separate personal from professional content.

Sephora has been a famous makeup brand since the early 2000s. They constantly innovate and stay ahead of the curve, making them incredibly unique among other similar brands and resulting in 10 billion USD in total earnings in 2019.

Sephora revolutionized the retail industry and provided a new direction for customers buying cosmetics and beauty products. Its stores operate differently and emphasize customer service.

With their catchphrase “We Belong to Something Beautiful,” they take steps to create a pleasurable and memorable customer experience for their female-centric audience.

Their customers are constantly changing with the industry, which is why they have tremendous success.

Here’s how they do it:

1. Knowledge of customers’ needs

The Millennials are changing the face of this current climate, but Sephora has adapted with exception. The brand's willingness to embrace change is what keeps it thriving.

They deliver audience-appropriate content on social media, enlighten people on recent trends, and are receptive to innovative—even expensive—manufacturers.

The beauty site has many success stories - one of their biggest ones is the first-hand marketing campaign. This was one of the first companies to actively offer services in their stores like personalized tutorials and special offers, including:

Customized support from industry professionals: Customers can now make one-on-one appointments with beauty and makeup consultants through the new "In-Store Companion" feature on the Sephora mobile app. It helps you to quickly plan a meeting with experts based on your top makeup and beauty needs.

Beauty classes with new releases for each season: The site and app feature a wide range of courses offered in different skills like skincare, highlighting, makeup, & contouring. Some are for beginners, while others are for experts!

Free makeup sessions: In-store customers increasingly have access to a free makeup session that takes about 15-20 minutes. The professionals do their best to conceal, outline, and blush them from head to toe. Complete makeup services are provided for those with the Rogue status.

2. Personalized sales

While most brands can't merge digital and physical retail, Sephora managed this feat and made its way up the global ladder in the cosmetic industry by integrating online with physical strategies.

Personalized sales have improved how staff members at Sephora generally approach the customer about service delivery, sales, and engagements.

The duo of physical and online retail workforce helped them quickly analyze:

  • How buyers relate with sales representatives in-store

  • How buyers connect with the site and app

  • What customers bought both online and in-store

These details helped Sephora create a personal shopping experience for customers. The approach also helped catalog shoppers find the products they needed more quickly. It's a great online customer representative system that helps turn around calls more quickly.

Their representatives use an approach called Customer Value Optimization to boost sales. They can help customers in ways that aren't possible with sales reps alone, and they allow businesses to solve customer needs more brightly and efficiently.

3. Public awareness of products

Sephora was quick to drive sales and register its presence in the minds of its audience. It did so through brand ambassadors and influencers who helped spread the word about their products and brands.

They used mini-influencers to promote new products for the company. Two examples of the storytelling influencers they leveraged include Myfacestory and FlawlessKevin.

Working with real people to ensure their products worked, the results were more than expected.

They were able to produce an attention-grabbing, persuasive and reliable customer experience visually.

4. Giving it a voice

#SephoraSquad was launched to reach a bigger audience and also create more brand ambassadors.

They incentivized their in-house customers with free products and professional mentorship to empower them and get more brand advocates and ambassadors.

#SephoraSquad has been providing valuable content for a while now and is becoming increasingly popular with content partners. Their value ranges from beauty tutorials and skincare routines to support for prospective influencers

They're also incentivizing employees and top-shots in the industry to build this strong working relationship.

5. Assist in decision-making

This can be a tricky situation for customers - there are many popular products available on the online store. Choosing which one to pick up can be difficult.

They developed a 'Help Me Choose' section to allow shoppers to quickly narrow their search and find the product they're looking for. This ensures that all available products are accessible, which will enable shoppers to purchase more efficiently.

Retaining customers with product descriptions and checkout flow were made more accessible and faster through this feature.

Buyers make informed decisions as they don’t have to deal with confusion in the process. They can also purchase in a faster manner and fully understand their orders.

Sephora had to segment their online store and ensured it wasn’t:

  • Unclear or overwhelming to viewers

  • Difficult for customers to have access to the product catalog

  • Disorderly, jumbled up or challenging to traverse

6. Enhanced customer experience

black and white printed textile
You can be sure that Sephora has "your back" when it comes to the e-commerce experience. With their excellent website and mobile app design, it’s easy to find items and make your purchase.

Customers can more easily narrow their search by searching by ‘Brands,’ ‘Makeup,’ or other elements. They're able to save time and minimize the rate of abandoned carts.

There are specific filtering options that customers can use for their search. Some examples are:

  • Issues/concerns

  • Skin type

  • Ingredients

  • Size

  • Brand

  • Age range

  • Price range

  • Type of product

7. Converting indecisive visitors

Sephora's customers can peruse their vast catalog, get product recommendations, and be a part of their online platform. The mobile application serves both the functions of an online store and a social media app.

People who are new to the community or want to learn more about it can connect with other people on the site.

This allows for fruitful discussions concerning health issues, beauty concerns, and industry trends. They're also allowed access to tutorials, videos, pictures, tips, and more.

8. YouTube channels

Sephora is doing a lot of different things to reach potential customers and bring them into the shop. These include using media platforms like a YouTube channel to convert potential customers into buying customers.

YouTube is an excellent choice for brands to use to convert cold customers. It can help them generate immediate sales and increase customer loyalty over time.

Sephora's YT videos cover many topics, including tips for creating beauty looks, makeup tricks, and how to get the most out of your skincare regimen.

9. Reduce abandoned carts

Online shopping can be a frustrating experience because orders sometimes go unfilled, and abandoned carts pile up on the side of the screen. But, it's possible to make your customers feel excited about their pending purchase by giving them helpful prompts and valuable feedback in real-time.

Sephora understands its customer base and applies the appropriate treatments based on that knowledge.

For instance, they give free shipping to those who spend $50 or more, free samples for every order, and discounts for buyers who applied for the Sephora Credit Card Program.

Final words

Sephora values all its audience types, creating a welcoming and personable community—a space where everyone can grow and stay thoroughly engaged and beautifully relevant.

The brand listens to its customers and keeps learning about their needs and concerns. Sephora will even motivate shoppers into spending more by making them feel they're actually spending less by only picking valuable and super-effective products.

Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high, thanks to their outreach programs. Applying these strategies should turn out wonderfully for your brand as well.

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