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Sephora enhances shopping experience via Google Catalogs app

Sephora is enhancing the shopping experience and broadening its mobile reach  via a new Google Catalogs application for tablet devices.

Google Catalogs is a free app that lets users browse catalogs from Macy?s, Brooks Brothers, Pottery Barn and others via the iPad. Users can also interact with videos and additional content for a rich user experience.

?Google has included a wide variety of prestigious retailers and their goals of bringing an engaging, fun and creative experience to shopping are aligned with our own,? said Tiffany Lei, senior marketing director of Sephora, San Francisco.

?The ability to access catalogues from multiple retailers in a single app is an incredible benefit to shoppers,? she said. ?Not only can you shop quickly across multiple brands from the convenience of your tablet, but the app format allows for a richer, more interactive experience that you can?t get from a paper catalogue.

?Our goal is to reach more consumers and showcase the incredible brands, service and beauty education that Sephora has to offer.?

Interactive browsing
Google Catalogs features 100 catalogs at launch and the company expects to add more in the future.

The focus is on making the catalog experience more engaging and interactive.

Users can open a catalog via the app, flip through it and click on tags to access product information, videos and photo albums.

Some of the videos are how-to?s and tutorials.

Users can browse catalogs across several categories such as fashion and apparel, beauty, home and jewelry.

When a user wants to make a purchase, there are links to buy online at a merchant?s Web site or to find a nearby store.

Users can also create collages of different items they like and share these with friends.

Other features include the ability to zoom in and see products up close, email a product to shopping buddies as well as add catalogs to favorites and get notified when a new issue arrives.

The app is currently available to download for the iPad and an Android version will be introduced soon.

?We really wanted to create an experience that was ideal for browsing,? said Abigail Holtz, business product manager of Google Catalogs, Mountain View, CA. ?The tablet was an obvious solution because the tablet is really poised for the browser experience.?

?It?s not just about browsing a catalog, it provides an integrated experience that?s engaging,? she said. ?When users see something they like they can go deeper to find out more about the product and view images.?

Tablets are hot
The app was designed to be a self-service tool for merchants, who can upload a PDF of their catalog and tag it with products and videos.

Google plans to add additional features to the catalog in the future with a focus on promoting more engagement within the app.

?Tablets are getting really hot right now and I think that commerce on tablets is something we haven?t seen a tremendous amount of and it is just getting starting to get hot,? Ms. Holtz said.

?We want to create more levels of engagement instead of just being able to click on the products,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York