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M-commerce and marketing pays off for Urban Decay and Sephora

By Deanna Utroske

08-Apr-2015
Last updated on 09-Apr-2015 at 12:24 GMT2015-04-09T12:24:37Z

M-commerce and marketing pays off for Urban Decay and Sephora

Prominent beauty brands are using digital initiatives to convert online fans to loyal shoppers.

Mobile digital technology isn’t about portability, it’s about activity: tweeting while meeting, shopping while shopping, posting while hosting, etc. Personal care and beauty brands that cater directly to the fast-paced digital consumer will win in this space. 

Omnichannel loyalty
Consumer reward programs present a ready opportunity. “Brands hoping to transform their loyalty program would do well to look at Sephora, a French cosmetics retailer,” observes Loyalty360 .That brand’s program is “called Beauty Insider, and it lets members use a mobile device to make purchases, receive promotions, check accounts, and more.”

Commonly, brands take a one-channel approach to consumer loyalty programs, rewarding in-store purchases only. At the same time, many digital touch points, where brands and consumers connect, are overlooked. “This neglect could be a major misstep for brands hoping to acquire and retain customers going forward,” according to Loyalty360 in an item about a recent report from Capgemini Consulting called Fixing the Cracks: Reinventing Loyalty Programs for the Digital Age.

That a beauty brand stands out so conspicuously is laudable. Some industry experts believe that e-commerce accounts for only 10% of beauty sales .

The Capgemini report explores loyalty programs in industries as dissimilar as airlines, telecom companies, and financial institutions; and noted that less than 10% of programs credited consumers for purchases made through more than one channel.

“Beauty Insider also effortlessly integrates various mobile accounts including the Apple Passbook wallet, which links with Sephora’s app. This service has proved to be very popular. Customers that engage with the Sephora Wallet, on average, are purchasing at twice the volume and frequency as other customers,” Loyalty360 points out.

Social, mobile, visual
At the start of the year Urban Decay launched a smarter version of its site to garner more conversions from the mobile space.

“We’re getting mobile customers to the right products at the right time, gamifying search in the process and making it fun,” says Katherine LaFranchise, assistant vice president at Urban Decay, according to an item on InternetRetailer.com .

Shelf appeal has always been about visual content. And in the mobile space, consumers favour images over text. Urban Decay’s move follows from that thinking. The color cosmetics brand partnered with Edgecase, a visual search technology company, to develop a search strategy that enables shoppers to navigate more spontaneously with images rather than word-heavy menus. 

The cosmetics brand has seen substantial improvement from the initiative. And since January, the brand’s mobile conversion rate has improved 150%.

“Apps [like Pinterest, Instagram and Tindr] are setting a precedent for how consumers use mobile devices to explore and target their interests, jumping from one item of interest to the next and then to the next, and so on,” explains Lisa Roberts, vice president of marketing for Edgecase.

We are trying to break the paradigm that the only way to navigate and search product selection is by text and menus. The emerging new usability standards are very different,” she emphasizes.

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