Sephora is looking to build a bridge between its stores and iPad users with a free new app launching this week.

This story first appeared in the July 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

While the company introduced a successful iPhone app last October, the iPad app offers a more robust user experience, noted Bridget Dolan, vice president of interactive media for Sephora. “While you probably have your iPhone with you at all times, that isn’t necessarily true of your iPad — and the size and capabilities of the iPad allow us to do even more with this app.”

Calling it “a fully integrated digital beauty experience,” Dolan noted that the app brings together exclusive Sephora social content, e-commerce and an interactive catalogue, as well as how-to videos.

“Digital is where we see retail going in the future, and we will continue to look for ways to enhance our position in this space,” said Dolan. “We want to bring together our power in-store and in social media, and make sure we’re solidifying our position as a leader.”

Sephora’s Facebook and Twitter feeds will be refreshed in real time on the app; the retailer’s BeautyTalk community Beauty and the Blog Web site, and Sephora’s newly revamped YouTube Channel will automatically update each time the app is accessed. It can also be tailored to show only the content individual users want, for a personalized experience, said Dolan. The interactive digital category will not only feature beauty products, how-to videos and application tips, but also recipes, travel suggestions and other lifestyle-oriented material. For users with iPad 2, the app offers a side-by-side virtual mirror so users can follow along with the how-to videos while creating the look on themselves, as well as a scan feature which reads QR and the barcodes of any product in Sephora doors to read real-time ratings and reviews.

The next iteration of Sephora’s digital strategy will involve bringing iPads into the retailer’s 280 North American doors to bring to life makeovers and makeup ads, said Dolan. “Some people want our expert opinions, others want other customers’ opinions,” said Dolan. “We’ll provide both, in-store and on the app.”

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