Sephora Case Study
It is beyond any doubt that one of the most important factors that influence the success of retail companies is their customers’ perception of the company. Various factors have a considerable influence on the company’s positioning in the minds of target audience. They are in-store surrounding, advertisement, pre-sales and after-sales service, internet commerce process, and others. A good example of the retail store engaged in beauty industry is Sephora. The company is fast developing and successful, and it constantly increases the number of products presented to its loyal customers. The products that are retailed by Sephora are skincare and body care products, coloring and fragrance goods, perfumes, and decorative cosmetics (Sephora). Thus, the purpose of the case study is to analyze the in-store brand experience, online brand experience, and strategic goals of Sephora’s digital and social media marketing programs settlement.
In-Store Brand Experience
Sephora Direct was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970 (Sephora). First, the stores looked like small shops with cosmetics. Then, Sephora made a considerable progress to several stores with multiple brands and assisted the self-service within the next 10 years. During the time of its development, the company has managed to acquire a large number of famous and unknown brands, a wide range of products, and a constantly increasing number of clients (Ofek and Wagonfeld). Thus, the company is successful, fast developing, and promising; consequently, the in-store brand experience and online brand experience are important to be analyzed.
As for the in-store brand experience of the company, a positive perception is received. All Sephora stores are designed in the same style. They deliver the similar look and feeling to the customers all over the world. The interior is designed in a classic and, at the same time, stylish color, namely white, black, and red. These colors create a usual but stylish and sophisticated look for the brand in-store experience. All the surfaces are shining and sparkling, thus giving a feeling of luxury. All employees of Sephora stores have the same corporate look that supports the overall red, white, and black colors style of the retail stores (Ofek and Wagonfeld). The overall design and style of Sephora stores evoke the feeling of luxury and prosperity, which has a positive effect on customers and motivates them to be a part of the atmosphere.
Since the company offers the service of trying cosmetics by customers without buying first, the atmosphere in the store is pleasant and friendly. In addition, brands with different price levels are presented in the stores, so each customer can feel comfortable and find the needed products regardless on the income level. Moreover, Sephora stores have a quite diversified range of cosmetic groups, form classic brand to niche unknown perfumes and companies (Ofek and Wagonfeld). All these aspects make customers with any level of income and demands feel comfortable and sure that they will find the product they need.
Another important fact that creates a positive attitude of the customers to Sephora is the company’s loyalty program (Ofek and Wagonfeld). Thus, Sephora has launched a loyalty project is called the Beauty Insider program. It provides gift, exclusive information, and the supply of unique cosmetics and beauty products to loyal clients. In addition, in 2009, the existing program was improved to a new loyalty activity called Very Important Beauty Insider (Sephora). Such a personal attitude and attention to the clients is very important for a brand loyalty of the customers and positive perception of the Sephora brand.
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Online Brand Experience
Due to rapid technological and media development, online brand experience becomes more and more important in customers’ perception of the brand. First, the primary importance belongs to the official website of the company. It was launched in 1999 on the US market. Within a rather short period, it managed to capture about 30% of the market, which signified the website’s effectiveness and positive perception of customers (Ofek and Wagonfeld). About 3 million of people visit it every month, which makes Sephora’s website one of the most popular ones in the USA (Ofek and Wagonfeld). The design of the website supports the overall company’s strategy and colors. It combines a sophisticated look, functionality, and easiness of use. Another characteristic of Sephora’s website is its informative character. Thus, the website offers substantial information about the product and its producer, which is rather important for the customers. A considerable positive criterion about the Sephora website is its constant development. The company has launched rating and reviews boards in order to ensure constant feedback and communication with the clients (Ofek and Wagonfeld). Thus, customers have a feeling of their importance and attention from the company.
One more important characteristic of the website brand experience is linked to the rapid development of mobile usage and purchase through smart phones. That is why it is of great importance for the clients of Sephora to use their website accustomed to the mobile version. Sephora Direct has such an option that also creates a positive impression on the customers. Moreover, another trend of the online experience, which is very important for the customers online brand experience, is the usage of mobile applications. Sephora Direct provides its customers with an opportunity to download the company’s mobile application from Apple Store and Play Market for free. This service makes the online brand experience easier and more conformable for the customers.
Another part of online brand experience is the attendance of Sephora’s social networks pages by the customers. In 2008, Sephora created its page in Facebook, the fastest growing social network of that time. In 2009, the company launched its presence in Twitter (Ofek and Wagonfeld). In addition, the company has recently presented its page in a new social network Instagram. Twitter is the most popular social network among Sephora customers, although Instagram gains great popularity among them as well (Hitz). The Sephora Company has even launched the gift cards program that can be done without any mobile phones or e-mails. Thus, customers can be reached via Twitter, which is much easier and comfortable for both the company and the customer (Jaekel). Moreover, Sephora has segmented the social media according to the purpose of usage. Facebook is primarily used for the service provided to the clients, while Pinterest is aimed at inspiration and communication with target audience and loyal customers (Cameron). Thus, Sephora develops its presence in main social media networks and has an individual strategy for each of them.
Strategic Goals of Sephora’s Digital and Social Media Marketing Programs
Digital and social media spheres are among the most quickly developing ones in the world. That is why Sephora Direct needs to be rather flexible and react promptly to the changes in this sphere. Strategic goals are regularly set in order to develop the company within the digital sphere trends. The first goal is to develop the video advertisement of Sephora stores and products within the next six months for social networks and YouTube usage within the next three months. The second goal is promote the company in popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and increase the number of followers by 20% within the next six months. Another goal that has to be reached in a year is the development of public relations with video bloggers with more than one million followers and settlement of the promotion of Sephora stores and its cosmetics with their help. The last goal is to launch cinema and film hidden advertisement of Sephora within the next year.
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Thus, considering everything discussed, a conclusion can be made that the case study called “Sephora Direct: Investing in Social Media, Video and Mobile” gives a profound information about the in-store and online brand experience of Sephora Direct. The experience of the cosmetic retail store gives a positive perception of the store, its style, service, and products. Moreover, the strategic goals have to be settled by the company in terms of digital and social media marketing programs. They are pages in social networks and their promotion, video advertisement launching, the development of public relations with beauty bloggers and cinema advertisements. All these strategic goals will improve the marketing program of Sephora Direct, attract new customers, and increase the profitability of the company.