Deep Dive Into the Retail Personalization Index Top 10: Sephora

When Sailthru launched the Retail Personalization Index last year, Sephora was the superstar. The brand scored a 79, one of only two retailers to crack the 70-point threshold. Sephora outscored everyone in the email and website categories, displaying a mastery of the foundations of personalization. And then Sephora’s digital shopping experience has enough fun bells and whistles, like the augmented reality fitting room, to really cement its top spot.

Working on the second Retail Personalization Index, we quickly noticed how many brands’ scores dramatically jumped from last year. It made us wonder, will Sephora be dethroned as most proficient personalizer?


How Sephora Stayed on Top

Sephora held on to number one with 92 points — the only A grade in the bunch. Everyone has their own unique complexion and coloring, which gives beauty products an inherent level of personalization. Sephora understands how that translates to the customer experience better than anyone. Their product recommendations go beyond browsing and buying behavior, and take consumers’ hair and eye color into consideration.

Once again, Sephora beat everyone in email and website, achieving perfect scores in both categories. Does the brand send email subscribers a warm welcome? Of course. Are the personalized recommendations predictive? You already know. The cosmetics giant worked hard to improve their mobile experience, which was already pretty solid with tutorials and augmented reality. But those improvements paid off, as Sephora also achieved a perfect score in the mobile category.

What really puts Sephora in a class by itself is how well all these channels are connected. If you begin shopping on the retailer’s website, you’ll see those items in the cart on your mobile app, which also shares recommendations via push notifications and in-app messages. Sephora’s integration extends offline; few brands are savvier about using their digital channels to drive in-store traffic.

Sephora - Using email to drive in-store traffic

Today’s consumers expect seamless, omnichannel shopping experiences. Sephora’s commitment there is evident, as the company made headlines earlier this year for merging their digital and physical retail teams back in October. And consumers are responding by continually demonstrating their loyalty. According to two years worth of data from 1010data, 80% of Sephora’s Beauty Insiders refuse to consider a competitor.

Is it any wonder the brand grew in all areas of operation, contributing to parent company LVMH’s 9% growth during the first half of 2018?

If the cosmetics giant hadn’t done a single thing differently from 2017, they’d still tie for an impressive third place with eBay and Urban Outfitters. Will Sephora get a perfect score on next year’s Retail Personalization Index and become a triple crown winner?

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