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Sephora launches mobile service to assist shoppers in-store

Sephora has launched a new mobile service that allows shoppers to easily browse product reviews when considering an in-store purchase.

The cosmetics retailer is using Bazaarvoice's MobileVoice, which delivers authentic product reviews directly to shoppers' phones in the store or mall. With MobileVoice, Sephora can provide reviews to mobile users in order to help shoppers narrow their choices and buy the right product.

"The impact of reviews and user generated content really affects what people buy," said Sam Decker, chief marketing officer of Bazaarvoice, New York.

"Customers trust this content and people seek reviews online when they are researching products," he said. "This service gets brands into the hands of consumers while they are in the store, deciding on what to buy."

Shoppers can easily browse reviews by category or look up a specific keyword or SKU to immediately access the opinions of their peers.

Sephora is using the service to add value to the in-store experience and build confidence in purchase decisions.

Reviews have become a core part of the shopping experience.

Nielsen reports that eight out of 10 shoppers read product reviews this holiday season.

"We want to deliver the best client experience to our shoppers, wherever they shop," said Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct, New York.

Shoppers can visit to get the latest product reviews and to browse what Sephora has to offer.

Why mobile?
United States mobile adoption has surpassed 75 percent and more than 83 percent of mobile phone users take their phones with them wherever they ago.

In addition, adoption of smartphones and iPhones is accelerating at a fast pace and more than 140 million U.S. consumers will be paying for mobile broadband services in 2013 -- up from 46 million in 2008, according to Parks Associates.

MobileVoice builds on the proven influence of online ratings and reviews by extending them to mobile.

Already, almost two-thirds (62 percent) of consumers read consumer-written product reviews on the Internet, according to a study by Deloitte & Touche.

A recent Nielsen survey said that 81 percent of 2008 online holiday shoppers read reviews and 44 percent cited customer reviews as one of the primary reasons they bought from a retailer -- either online or offline.

In addition, consumers are 2.5 times more strongly influenced by customer reviews than a salesperson's advice, according to Rubicon Group. This makes the ability to access product reviews in the store extremely valuable to consumers and retailers rather than forcing them to leave the store to find the information.

"MobileVoice represents the new ability to access credible word of mouth on products and services from any location," Mr. Decker said. "Now, there is a chorus of voices to share their experiences on any product that you pick up and look at.

"This is great news for shoppers -- and great news for retailers who need to drive sales in a tough climate by leveraging the content that matters to shoppers instead of increasing marketing or ad spend," he said.