Cosmetics retailer Sephora disrupted the market with a wide range of products and “assisted self-service” philosophy. In 2016, the company recorded double-digit growth in profits and revenue for their parent company LVMH, and they have expanded to more than 100 stores. In keeping with the highly personal nature of skincare and cosmetics, Sephora stands out from its peers with a robust digital personal shopper that specifically tailors product recommendations to a customer’s exact skin type and tone, as well as her eye and hair color.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider program is a cornerstone of their experience, with full integration across site, app and email; email communications can include customers’ points balance, personalized reward redemption recommendations, and exclusive benefits for higher loyalty tiers. The mobile app also sets Sephora apart with a wealth of useful tutorials as well as an augmented-reality app that allows buyers to apply virtual makeup to preview various looks.

This is complemented by a large hosted community where customers can share products and ideas, and blog posts and lookbooks driven by product views and customer profiles. The site also includes robust site-to-store functionality – encouraging visitors to bridge the online and offline experience by booking makeovers and in-store consultations.

Overall Score: 79


Performance vs. Sailthru 100 Category Average

  • Website 11.5
  • Mobile 5.3
  • Other 2.9

What Works:

  • Strong use of profile data to drive recommendations
  • Useful, innovative mobile app with personalized recommendations and content
  • Tailored, consultative in-person services and makeovers
  • Robust cross-channel personalization for loyalty program members
  • Use of beacons in-store to alert customers to items left in digital shopping cart when nearby
  • Loyalty program that connects the app to other areas of the experience

What We’d Like to See:

  • Advancement of mobile push notification personalization
  • Further integration of how-to and tutorial content in email
  • Increased use of digital profiles to personalize the in-store experience