Interview: Julie Bornstein, SVP, Sephora Direct - On Enhancing The In-Store Experience Through The Power of Mobile
For all the attention check-ins and badges get for trying to lure people into stores, high-end cosmetics retailer Sephora is quietly using something comparatively simple - mobile customer reviews - to enhance the actual in-store shopping experience.
Indeed, it's no secret that reviews are now a key part of shopping - and in building confidence in purchase decisions for everything from L'Oreal lipstick to Lamborghinis.
According to Nielsen, eight in 10 shoppers now routinely read online produce reviews before placing purchases. And 40% cite online customer reviews as one of the primary reasons they have bought from a retailer, online or off.
The beauty, if you will, of Sephora's solution, is that the service is primarily accessible when the consumer is in the store or mall, as they access the reviews by looking up a keyword or the UPC on product packaging, via Sephora's mobile site.
You'd be surprised how many people can get supremely passionate about, say, Philosophy brand's "Cinnamon Buns" body wash, for instance. And yet a quick look at the mobile site reveals 132 different reviews, featuring comments ranging from "Kinda smelled like cardboard," to "Smelled so good my husband wanted to drink the bottle."
The capability began as a feature on the Sephora traditional website, where it became an instant hit. In this source interview for my new book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, Julie Bornstein, senior vice president for Sephora Direct tells me the migration to mobile was an absolute no brainer.
Along the way, she offers a glimpse at how Sephora sees mobile - and its possibilities for supercharging the in-store experience.