5 ways Sephora creates a seamless customer experience

Director, Editorial Content

Shopping for makeup and skincare products is a highly personal experience. With a belief that “beauty is yours to define and ours to celebrate,” Sephora provides customers a host of personalized tools. At NRFtech, Chief Engineering Officer Raghu Sagi spoke about how Sephora puts personalization at the front of every client decision.

“Every customer has a highly unique perspective and a personal view on their beauty,” he said. “We should be able to provide her a lot of tools that are personalized across all channels. That’s our goal, to be able to make her experience better as well as find a perfect fit for her needs.”

It all starts with what the customer wants — Sagi said 45 percent of consumers expect brands to offer customized products and experiences. Mobile is driving new behavior: Customers are constantly shifting between online and real life, and they expect a unified, seamless, easy experience. Retailers “have an amazing opportunity,” he said, “as well as a responsibility, to make them experience something memorable when they step into your store.”

Experiences are more powerful, Sagi said, when they seamlessly cross channels; he shared five ways Sephora differentiates itself through a personalized omnichannel experience.

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Virtual try-on

Sephora’s Virtual Artist allows customers to virtually try on products from multiple categories, all from their mobile device. The tool, which also is available on product pages online, can detect facial features and determine how to apply products. “This is something we have been using for the last few years, and we have seen amazing buzz about this,” Sagi said, adding that 200 million shades of products — lips, lashes, foundation and more — have been used by customers.

Connecting with the community

The Beauty Insider Community, launched last year, is a digital platform where beauty lovers can connect with each other, find inspiration, ask questions and get recommendations “in an unsponsored, real-time, real-talk social setting.” The live chat feature allows customers browsing product pages to connect with other consumers. “If you’re interested in curly hair,” he said, “I think you would want to talk to someone that has curly hair, and maybe has used some products.” Sagi said about 300,000 chats have taken place, with responses available in less than two minutes.

Connecting digital profile to the store

Sephora’s mobile app transforms into the Store Companion tool, coming to life as users approach a store and providing information like product recommendations, items users have previously browsed and their beauty profile.

Connecting store experience to digital

Digital Skincare and Makeover Guides allow store associates to capture products used or recommended during a service and send them to clients for future reference, along with videos and before-and-after pictures.

Voice-powered advice

The newest tool, Sephora Skincare Advisor on Google Home, is the company’s first voice experience and just launched a few weeks ago. Through the Sephora experience, clients can discover their skin type and receive daily skincare tips.

“We have a DNA of innovation,” Sagi said. “We have been a company that is always at the forefront of digital innovation, but in order to be innovative you have to be able to take a risk on trying something and put it into the store … and figure out if it works.”

For more stories and session recaps from NRFtech, visit the official recap page.