The best kind of omnichannel experience makes things as smooth as possible for shoppers, however they want to research and buy products. Beauty brand Sephora does this by merging online and offline innovations within the retail space, providing a memorable experience no matter how people want to buy.
Retail businesses that can provide experiential brick-and-mortar stores, apps that educate, social media channels that inspire, easy-to-use websites, and personalized recommendations are primed to thrive in 2019 and beyond. Here are five top tips to win at omnichannel, inspired by Sephora’s killer marketing strategy:
1. Make your brick-and-mortar stores an experience.
In stores, Sephora delivers customer service that goes above and beyond (through hi-touch activations like makeovers and demos), and incentivizes shoppers through awesome loyalty initiatives (like Beauty Insider Rewards, a program that lets you earn points to get freebies).
Sephora stores deliver a unique sensory experience with music, product samples, and an approachable, helpful staff. Sephora utilizes its physical presence to provide a “hands-on” experience. Live workshops engage shoppers with complimentary makeovers from expert stylists, and touchscreens are available so beauty buyers can test foundations, concealer, perfume and more — all right there in the store.
Its brick-and-mortar locations also include spaces where shoppers can view makeup tutorials on products they’re interested in buying.
2. Create an app that educates first, sells second.
Beauty buyers want to understand how to use great products to their fullest potential. And they like staying in the know. Sephora’s app does a great job at educating shoppers about the latest, greatest beauty finds — and ultimately, selling them.
The app lets you shop anytime, anywhere, get exclusive access to previews and promotions, experience a virtual makeup artist, or book an appointment in store.
App users also benefit from a great experience of Sephora’s loyalty program, which works like an airline’s frequent flyer program, letting customers increase their status.
The highest status levels are VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) and VIB Rouge, which gives customers the opportunity to buy exclusive products and unlimited access to the Beauty Studio and Rouge events.
3. Share social media posts that inspire and entertain.
It’s no secret that Instagram marketing is a powerful channel to connect with beauty shoppers. Sephora’s Insta account boasts 16 million followers and counting. Their profile paged is packed with content ranging from stunning product announcements to fun influencer posts.
Glittery videos and Instagram stories abound, mixed in with gorgeous lifestyle photos and flawless faces — all providing those aspirational nudges buyers might need to give a brand new product or color a try.
4. Optimize and personalize your website.
On Sephora’s website, the digital experience is informative and fun. The homepage features editor’s favorites and new releases.
Product pages are easy-to-navigate and clearly display product reviews, along with how-tos and ingredients. The pages also aim to answer any questions and concerns a shopper might have about any product, so that everything they might ask about is right at their fingertips.
In addition, Sephora also has a running display of user-generated content featuring reviewers who want to share how the products look in action, creating an informative and engaging product page experience.
5. Keep it personal, on every channel.
Personalization is the new normal. With smartphones more ubiquitous than ever, we have a unique browsing experience 100% of the time.
Online, searches, news, social networks, and ads are all tailored to our interests. Shoppers expect this degree of personalization in everything they do now.
Sephora shoppers are served ads that they want to see, like those for hand-selected products and exclusive product lines.
On the Sephora website, relevant recommendations trigger shoppers’ interest and keep them coming back.
To achieve great omnichannel results, it starts with data.
We’re just at the cusp of an AI revolution, moving closer to the point when brands and can personalize all communications at scale, on every channel. The sky is the limit. But only if you have the right data and the right tools to activate it.
The more data that you can collect and activate, the more intelligent your ads.
When ads are personalized enough, you can ensure that you’re showing customers what they actually want to see, from social to video and in-app to mobile web. And that leads to higher ROI. Sephora worked with Criteo to deliver great ad experiences to their shoppers across channels, driving a 725% increase in ROI.