Moving past the showroom challenge: The beauty of Sephora's customer-centric approach
Many retailers have been spending a lot of time and energy battling showrooming.
Instead of understanding the way customers are behaving retailers are fighting it in ways that are focused on anything BUT the customer. Customers have access to more information than ever before, and aren't afraid to use it. Can I get a better deal online? Let me just use my smart phone to find out!
Showrooming is just how business is done for customers now, and according to the way numbers are rising each quarter, it will be for a long while. More than 50 percent of U.S. shoppers now use smartphones to compare products and read product reviews, according to Econsultancy.
Considering 44 percent of all age groups now say the availability of in-store wifi is an influence for where they shop, the trend of blending the offline and online choices seems to be taking over in-store experiences. While some retailers are taking the “browse and we’ll charge you” approach, this doesn’t seem like a viable or very customer-centric approach. Vera Wang’s Shanghai store announced “every potential customer at the Shanghai store will be charged 3,000 yuan simply to try on the gowns for sale.” While retailers may see this as a way to qualify shoppers, many potential shoppers see this as yet another reason to head online for shopping.
But Sephora is taking a markedly different approach — and it’s worth noting their results.
Sephora, the beauty supply and cosmetics retailer, offers customers choice of all kinds, and customers are rewarding them with loyalty.
It just goes to show you, if you offer what customers REALLY want (and not what you want them to want), they will pay you back with real growth. Some of the highlights from our latest CXI Case File:
- Sephora focuses on the multichannel experience, offering wifi in any store to access their online store, scannable purchases, and online shopping lists.
- In-store offerings include free makeovers with minimum purchases and ongoing beauty classes, like how to apply false eyelashes. These events are perfect for the in-person experiences customers want in a store.
- Via their social media community, Sephora offers many firsts to their Facebook fans and extras like Twitter chats with beauty experts.
- Their Beauty Insider Loyalty Program has tiers for all customers - meaning you don't have to shop there every day to earn rewards. But if you do spend your paycheck there, they reward you for it. The tiers go from those who spend nothing to $350 per year to $1000 per year.
- Access your own shopping history (from both in-store and online) via their mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 2 million times!
- The Sephora To Go app lets users do more than access their own purchase history. The app activates push notifications for new trends and product launches for those who opt-in.
Investing in the customer experience, making it seamless and proactively supporting customer habits has helped Sephora grow 150 percent via their mobile shopping channel from 2012 - 2013!
Do you know your customers?
One thing seems true about Sephora — they know their customers. Many retailers fighting the mobile trends of how customers shop are ignoring the wants and needs of those they are claiming to serve.
How can you help your customers find the information they are seeking and your products via the channels they want to use?
Jeannie Walters Jeannie Walters is the CEO and Founder of 360Connext, a global customer experience consulting firm dedicated to creating fewer ruined days for customers- improving loyalty, customer retention, and overall customer experience. www