Sephora aims to grow brand affinity with exclusive social platform

Sephora has recently launched a new members-only digital platform called Beauty Insider Community, designed for its most engaged makeup enthusiasts.

The platform — a standalone vertical on Sephora’s website and mobile app — acts as a resource for users to ask beauty for tips and insight, share recommendations, and engage with other likeminded consumers. In order to participate, users must already be an existing Beauty Insider, Sephora’s complimentary program that allows shoppers to accrue points for rewards, as well as receive gifts on their birthday and participate in monthly classes. (The program also includes the pay-to-play Vib- and Rouge-level memberships, which boast a wider array of benefits, at $350 and $1,000 respectively.)

“We realized this experience would be exponentially more useful if it was integrated within the shopping experience, to avoid having to open and navigate through several tabs,” said Bindu Shah, svp of digital marketing and media.”We made sure it was a unified, mobile-first experience that was integrated through mobile, desktop and our app, and that our clients would not have to download a new app to participate.”

“We know shopping for beauty can be overwhelming. Our goal is to facilitate the client’s shopping experience with more personal recommendations and product discovery through the advice of their peers,” Shah said.

Sephora has continued to turn to loyalty programs in recent years in an effort to lure and retain consumers. In addition to its Beauty Insider program, it has an IQ offering that helps shoppers develop a better understanding of their personal makeup and fragrance preferences. IQ stores information on shades and scents based on quizzes and questionnaires, and uses it as a guide to suggest future products.

By and large, loyalty programs continue to be a major initiative among beauty brands, as they tend to entice return shoppers regularly replenish their favorite products. For example, L’Oréal Paris launched a reward program early this year with a cause marketing spin: It rewards shoppers by jointly donating a portion of sales to the charities of their choosing.

Sephora has also sought to build loyalty philanthropy with the Sephora Stands initiative, which provides resources to female entrepreneurs and supports nonprofits for women overcoming barriers like domestic abuse. “It inspires love and loyalty from consumers. You prefer to buy from companies that take social impact seriously,” Corrie Conrad, Sephora’s head of social impact, told Glossy in January.

Sephora store New York at 34th St