Sephora Sees Beauty in Beacon-Based Services

As it continues piloting the technology's use at two sites in California, the global cosmetics company plans to expand the deployment.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 13, 2015

Cosmetics company Sephora is rolling out a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon solution to provide content related to a shopper's proximity when that customer uses Sephora's app on an Apple iPhone. The beacon system is slated to be rolled out to all of the company's stores following a pilot of the solution that began in the fall at two San Francisco-area sites. The retailer has not indicated the timeline for the installation rollout.

The beacons and content-management software are being provided by Gimbal.

Sephora operates approximately 1,900 stores throughout 29 countries, including about 360 across North America. The company sells perfumes and cosmetics at each of these locations. Its customers can buy its products online or at physical stores, and like many retailers, Sephora has been seeking ways in which to encourage shoppers to visit the brick-and-mortar locations, where they can sample products and make purchases based on what they actually see, feel and smell.

The iPhone version of the Sephora to Go app enables shoppers to receive special offers and information triggered by beacons installed within the retailer's stores.
To achieve this goal, the company recently launched what it calls the Sephora Innovation Lab, in a converted San Francisco warehouse, where its latest technologies dedicated to integrating digital and physical shopping will be demonstrated. The laboratory includes a full-size model of a Sephora store, and the beacon system is among the technologies being showcased there.

As part of the effort to encourage shoppers to visit its stores, the retailer's Sephora to Go mobile app (available at the iTunes and Google Play websites) is designed to notify app users of any new promotions and birthday month benefits, and to remind them of in-store services such as makeovers. The iOS version of the app also enables users to receive special offers and information triggered by beacons installed within its stores.

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