Sephora’s Digital Gifting Makeover

By Larry Weissbach, VP of Client Services

sephora-blogSephora has long been an omni-channel retailer, offering digital, in-store and mail-based loyalty programs, product consultations, exclusive offers and more. The company recognized early on that the mobile phone was quickly becoming their clients’ go-to personal shopping assistants. Not only were clients using the Sephora to Go app – which has more than 3m downloads – for shopping on-the-go, but also when they were in Sephora stores. Armed with this information, Sephora made mobile commerce central to its omni-channel marketing strategy, empowering women to have all the information they need at their fingertips at all times.

One of Sephora’s key mobile-first initiatives came in the form of digital gifting, as the company’s previous gifting solution did not allow for in-store redemption. Imagine the disappointment of receiving a digital gift card, but only being able to spend it online. This is not the seamless experience that Sephora strives to provide its clients.

Bridget Dolan, Vice President, Sephora Innovation Lab: “As we began to rethink our prepaid commerce program and determine how to best market the concept of digital gifting to our customers, it became immediately clear that an omni-channel strategy was essential. More specifically, we recognized that mobile was the key to unifying our gifting program across all retail channels and supporting the omni-channel experience our customers were already seeking.”

Given the omni-channel gifting capabilities made possible with mobile technology, coupled with the existing affinity for iPhone products and apps amongst its client base, Sephora welcomed an invitation to participate in the launch of Apple’s Passbook in 2012. By quickly leveraging CashStar’s cloud-based platform, CashStar Commerce, and integration with Passbook, Sephora was able to launch a mobile-first, digital gifting offering in just two months and establish itself as a leader in the mobile payments space. Soon after this initial launch, Sephora expanded to include Web-based digital gifting on the CashStar platform, and also added digital gifting to its Sephora to Go mobile app.

“The results we experienced just aren’t possible with plastic gift cards,” said Dolan. “Fifty-one percent of our digital gift cards are redeemed within just one month, compared to only 33 percent of our plastic gift cards. And the average initial purchase value from our eGift Cards is 30 percent higher than our plastic cards. Better yet, with gifting integrated in the Sephora to Go app, our customers have one convenient place to store their gift cards and are no longer losing their digital gifts in crowded email inboxes, leaving their plastic gift cards behind at home, or wondering what the remaining balance is on their cards. By being able to create, purchase and manage Sephora gifts cards directly in the Sephora to Go iPhone app, our new digital gifting platform allows Sephora customers to truly make gifting their own.”

To learn how Sephora drove eight times digital gifting revenue growth in its first year with CashStar, visit our Resources page to download the full case study.


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