Sephora bets on messaging apps for e-commerce Featured

Sephora became the first beauty brand to make its debut on the messaging app Monday, aiming to drive sales by offering a one-to-one chat experience on mobile.

Need a new lip gloss? Skip the store and download Kik.

Sephora became the first beauty brand to make its debut on the messaging app Monday, aiming to drive sales by offering a one-to-one chat experience on mobile. Users will now be able to not only get their beauty product reviews, recommendations and tips instantly, but also make purchases directly on the app.

“We’ve had our eye on what Kik is doing for a while now and strongly believe that it is a top app that offers Sephora a new avenue of connection with our clients,” said Bindu Shah, Sephora’s vp of digital marketing. “Brand engagement and client acquisition, particularly of the highly mobile and connected audience of Gen-Z and younger millennials, was a huge draw for us.”

For millennials and teens around the world, messaging apps like Kik, WhatsApp, WeChat and Line have increasingly become preferred mediums of communication. About 42 percent of Kik’s 275 million-strong user base is aged 18 to 24, according to comScore, whereas Facebook-owned WhatsApp recently announced that hit a billion active mobile users. A swath of brands, retailers and publishers, from K-Swiss and Burger King to The Washington Post, have been flocking to these apps.

“It shows the opportunity for brands to not only be perceived as a service provider but as a knowledgeable friend, adding real value to users,” said Ben Kosinski, head of The Collaboratory at iCrossing. “It’s smart for the brand to go where the users are and create a presence on these platforms while providing relevant and personalized one-to-one conversations with consumers.”

Sephora’s interaction with its customers on Kik is also designed to resemble a regular conversation. All users have to do is add Sephora on the platform and start a conversation. The chatbot then provides a brief introduction, welcoming them and explaining that they can get makeup tips and reviews by chatting with Sephora. There’s the requisite amount of emojis sprinkled in too.

Sephora has also created a personalized experience for its customers through a small quiz on the app, using the results to serve them appropriate content and products tailored to their individual tastes. These recommendations are based on a range of questions about their age group, favorite makeup items, brands and products they cannot live without. The end product is a piece of content based on their interests. This reporter was treated to a video tutorial by Bobbi Brown on how to create a winged eyeliner look, for instance. Users can also search for product categories, read reviews of specific items and purchase them which are housed on native pages within the app.

“With Kik, we’re able to leverage our extensive library of how-to content, videos, images, and text tips in a new way,” said Shah. “We know ratings and reviews are a very important and trusted part of her decision-making journey — and now, she can use the Kik chatbot as a resource instantly, rather than waiting for relevant content to appear in a news feed.”

The brand also asks people what types of products they already use to find out more about them, via a pop-up keyboard that offers options. There is an obvious data play here — the more it knows about its customers, the better it can personalize recommendations and deepen brand loyalty.

As a brand or retailer, you want as little friction to get a consumer to complete a purchase as possible,” said Jaclyn Ling, director of retail at Kik. “So why not use a platform that can make it as instant and as frictionless as possible?”

Chatbots not only serve to help brands and retailers create more efficient and enjoyable interactions and build brand loyalty either. They are, so the pitch goes, beneficial to the consumer too. Consumers can get highly personalized recommendations, complete purchases and even track orders and shipping, said Puneet Mehta, founder and CEO of Msg.Ai, which automates brand interactions in messaging apps in real time. “Messaging enables both communication and rich experiences previously reserved for apps or mobile sites,” he said.

Sephora, for its part, has long been ahead of the digital curve. Apart from a robust social presence, it opened its Innovation Lab for business in San Francisco last year, cementing its position as the frontrunner in digitizing the beauty retail space. Its social marketing team continually tests emerging platforms to offer clients the latest and and easiest ways to engage with the brand as well, according to Shah.

“The launch also reinforces our commitment to providing our clients a place to learn about beauty in fun and new ways that work seamlessly into their daily routines,” she said. “At Sephora, we pride ourselves on being both innovative and agile, incorporating these attributes into everything we do.”


Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

back to top


Boldstart Founder Launches Hyperledger Fabric's First Blockchain Accelerator

The founder of VC firm Boldstart Ventures is launching the first accelerator dedicated exclusively to startups building on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

CNN launches daily news show on Snapchat

CNN on Monday began streaming "The Update," a daily show on Snapchat featuring at least five news stories each episode from reporters and bureaus around the world, to attract younger viewers.

Quora now launches retargeting for advertisers

Quora’s newly launched ads platform now supports retargeting ads on the question-and-answer network.

Facebook faces scare that teens are going to Snapchat and Instagram. Again.

 Now playing on the internet: the episode in which everyone freaks out that young people are abandoning Facebook in favor of hot new social media services like Snap and Instagram.

IBM partners with Walmart, Unilever, Nestlé, and other food giants, to apply blockchain tech to food supply chains

They will be aiming to use blockchains to maintain secure digital records and improve the traceability of their foodstuffs

Blockchain can make social networks more private — and profitable for you

Fact: You’re going to spend a total of five years of your life on social media. But- is blockchain answer to everything?

The HuffPost’s tabloid-style homepage is paying dividends

The move was designed to deliver what Polgreen described as “a visceral snapshot of the day.”

Dashbot’s codeless Twitter Integration is now live!

Integrate your DM bot without code and in 10 seconds.

50 Bitcoin Exchanges Have Filed with the Japanese Financial Authority

In April, the Japanese government amended its fund settlement law to recognize bitcoin as a legal means of payment

Billionaire Calvin Ayre Acquires Crypto Media Outlet Coingeek

  The plan is for to continue to cover Bitcoin news as it relates to the gaming industry

Asus Debuts Specialized Motherboard for Cryptocurrency Miners

"Cryptocurrency and blockchain are here to stay"

Chatbot That Helps Users Appeal Parking Tickets Comes To U.S.

A chatbot called DoNotPay that helps users appeal parking tickets for free in the U.K. is now available in the United States.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot

Chatbot is designed to answer faster than a human could.

How Blockchain Is Monetizing User’s Experience and Skills

Generating value is the key concept sustaining the explosion of Blockchain offerings in 2017.

Bezos on Amazon’s AI and Machine Learning Strategy

[It's all about] enabling other organizations to leverage the game-changer that is machine learning.

Mongolia's Hottest New Social App Is All About Horses

Although cowboy culture is mostly nostalgia in the United States these days, many rural Mongolians still rely on their horses in daily life. In Mongolia, horsemanship is one of the most celebrated aspects of their culture, even on social media. "If we...

Startups could be key to fixing tech's diversity problem

Silicon Valley companies are learning a hard lesson: They can't escape their attitude problems.

Android Oreo released by Google

Google has released the latest version of its Android mobile operating system (OS), which will be named after Oreo chocolate biscuits.

How RBC is using a blockchain to overhaul its loyalty program

“We see loyalty as a great use case for blockchain to allow us to provide customers more real-time access to rewards points to provide an almost Starbucks-like experience.”

Why finance brands are so hot on content marketing

Content is one way to make people return to their site to see new updates, buy new products and invest more money.

Reddit now allows users to upload videos

Videos are coming to Reddit, thanks to a new feature that allows users to upload video clips directly to the service.

Sharp sues Hisense over a foreign “gag order”

Sharp, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit challenging a foreign gag order that company lawyers say prevents Sharp from talking about its own brand.

How A Police Body Camera Company Is Becoming An Artificial Intelligence Company

Like most technology companies today, Axon’s goal is to collect data; the free body camera trial is just another avenue to generate and collect more of it.

Mic Lays Off Dozens Just a Week After Promising Not To

A number of online outlets, including Mashable, Vice, and MTV News, have recently slashed their writing staffs to focus on producing visual content

Kit Kat accused of copying Atari game

Kit Kat's maker Nestle has been accused of copying Breakout, the 1970s computer game, in a marketing campaign.

YouTube TV expands to 14 new markets

YouTube is broadening access to live TV streaming as younger viewers increasingly watch shows online and traditional broadcast networks grapple with aging demographics among viewers.

Hyundai looks to build a >300-mile-range electric car

More carmakers are looking toward electric vehicles as fuel cell falters

Why Bancor Wants To Become The YouTube Of Cryptocurrency

If Bancor overcomes the initial scandals (it shortchanges its users' by rounding token values) Bancor could reshape the cryptocurrency marketplace as we know it.

The best of Siri: 11 funny responses from the iPhone's virtual assistant

Since its launch in 2011, Siri has become increasingly intelligent, and can now hold basic two-way conversations with users.

How Yogscast built a media empire

The newer generation doesn’t want to be told how to do things, they want to see it.

Skype’s new look arrives on the desktop in preview form

The chat-focused update comes with new features for messaging and calls.

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter

Get our complimentary briefing, featuring news & analysis of the business trends and practices.
Terms and Conditions