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Sephora clears up skincare-product choices with new method of recommendations

Beauty retailer Sephora is getting to know its audience even more so through an email campaign that recommends products based on a mobile-optimized quiz, helping it gather data on individuals. 

Sephora fans are often used to the retailer?s strategy of tailoring its marketing efforts to the individuals, and its latest will help it do so better by garnering more data. In support of this theory, Sephora has launched an email campaign that prompts users to answer questions regarding their skin for the best products suited for them. 

"Sephora is a recognized leader in the emerging era of the connected individual; they recently were recognized as a finalist for the 2017 CMIE Marketer of The Year Award," said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. "Sephora has an intimate appreciation for what it takes to bridge physical and digital experiences to serve the individual. 

"Their skin care quiz is an effective tool for guiding people towards the solutions that may be best suited to the individual's needs," he said. "Over time these types of experiences train both the individual and Sephora on how to mutually create and exchange value with each other."

Sephora strategy
Users via mobile or desktop who have received an email from Sephora as part of the campaign can click on the quiz to view products recommended by experts for them. The email gives an introduction to the ?Skincare rated for you? with an image of smartphone on a marble tabletop surrounded by products. 

The screen of the device features a GIF that walks consumers through its new experience. To get their recommendations, users select ?Let?s get started? within the email. 

Once clicked, the link takes users to quiz page, available on either mobile or desktop. Sephora asks users what their skin type is, but first says, ?Let?s have a face to face.? 

Users can answer Sephora?s questions through multiple-choice. For instance, for the question ?what?s your skin type,? users can select from oily, combination, dry and normal. 

Each choice has a description that appeals to Sephora?s audience, largely made up of millennials. For instance, under oily, the description is ?I?m so over shine,? and combination is ?my skin can?t pick a side.? 

The second question asks users what their top concern is, with choices signs of aging, visible pores, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles and acne and blemishes. Once the user has selected their top concern, Sephora will provide a list of beauty products that are the highest rate among those with similar skin. 

Sephora summary 
Sephora also recently innovated in the marketing space by offering a new emoji keyboard that lets users create emojis in their likeness based on their Color IQ number, showcasing how retailers can add a dose of customization to their mobile messaging strategies.
The keyboard made use of the latest tool marketers have been using to reach millennials ? emojis. The keyboard is called Sephojis and is available on both Apple and Android devices (see more). 

Sephora also natively blended its ads into the flow of magazine and blog content ahead of its holiday sales event within the application Flipboard, which is known to keep in line with the beauty retailer's audience. 

The cosmetics brand is one of the first big names to make use of the new feature, but others are following. Sephora hoped to make use of Storyboard to let their advertisements sit naturally and non-intrusively among Flipboard users' content streams (see more).

"The skin care quiz is one element within its portfolio to serve the individual," Mr. Becker said. "By itself it is an engaging inbound marketing tactic, but viewed alongside other Sephora tools, like in store interactive mirrors, kiosks to smell scents, engravers and apps, the quiz is a key element for helping Sephora serve the individual, at scale. 

"Sephora recognizes however that digital experiences and technology are just one pillar to their success," he said. "They invest in their people. 

"Sephora's in-store cast members are exceptionally well trained, they are solution assistants and advisors, not just sales clerks. I highly recommend marketers to spend time in Sephora stores and on its digital properties so that they can experience first hand how all these elements come together. It is the combination of all these elements that helps Sephora build loyalty with its consumers, shoppers, influences, brand partners and staff."