By  on August 4, 2010

Want Sephora on the go? Beginning today, the retailer is launching SephoraMobile, a smartphone-enabled Web site which gives consumers the ability to shop, view their buying histories and even find the nearest Sephora in North America with the aid of GPS technology. An iPhone app will follow in October.

“We had a vision of the information we wanted our customers to have on the go, and given the rapid rate of adoption of smartphones, developing this type of technology was a natural progression,” said Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct. “The mobile Web site leverages the technology on our existing e-commerce site, and adds to it.”

Located at m.sephora.com, the program also has the ability to suggest new products based on past purchases and look up past ones — “Customers will never have to enter another store and wonder what shade it was that they bought a few months ago,” said Bornstein. “If you’re a Sephora Beauty Insider [the retailer’s loyalty program] the information is all on this site — what product you purchased in what shade, and which Sephora store it was purchased in, or if it was a Web site purchase.” Bornstein declined to reveal how large the Sephora Beauty Insider community is.

On SephoraMobile, users can also access lists of new products, product ratings and reviews; formulate and save a shopping list before entering the store, and access the retailer’s Facebook page, including the ability to “like” products on Facebook from their smartphones.

The iPhone-specific app, which will also be usable on the iPod Touch and iPad, will include all of the mobile site’s features — and add the ability to scan a product’s bar code to add to an online wish list or look up product ratings; watch video content, and more.

“We added as many features as possible to the initial mobile Web site, but the iPhone’s specific attributes live on the phone itself and allow us to add features with the iPhone app,” said Bornstein, noting that the app will be free; the new mobile site is as well. “The bar code scanning will be powered by the iPhone’s built-in camera, as will the video content.”

Bornstein noted that the retailer’s Facebook page, launched in 2008 and which now has almost 700,000 fans, was an important tool in creating both SephoraMobile and the upcoming iPhone app.

“We posted that we were planning to develop a mobile site and iPhone app, and asked for fans’ ideas and feedback,” she said. “It was great to have validation of what we were thinking, and to get ideas for additional features.

“We ask a lot of questions on Facebook on preferences, and use Facebook and Twitter as another channel to communicate Sephora news and get feedback,” continued Bornstein. “It’s the direct voice of the consumers — and we have a team of people there to answer questions.”

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