As eCommerce reaches new standards post-pandemic, top retailers have taken steps to truly integrate their brick-and-mortar and eCommerce experiences to meet consumer expectations. No longer a trend, it is now the eCommerce standard in 2022.
Integrating your data throughout your business’ omnichannel mix is absolutely essential to keeping your business relevant and profitable. One retailer, in particular, has paved the way for an exceptional online customer experience that bridges seamlessly into brick-and-mortar.
Keep reading for our full account of how Sephora is setting the standard for integrated omnichannel customer experience. Dive deep into our analysis of how their back-end likely informs their sleek and engaging suite of websites, customer service touchpoints, and more.
Beauty On Demand
Sephora is the leader in multichannel commerce; providing a shopping experience that is seamless and consistent no matter the shopping channel, or delivery mechanism. The online shopping experience is the same as the in-store experience. There are both buy-online pick-up in-store (BOPIS) options, as well as same-day delivery with free shipping. The options that are available to Sephora customers puts their experience and convenience at the heart of the transaction. Frictionless commerce is something retailers often attempt, but Sephora is an exemplary standard for the industry.
Holistic Data Integration Across The Brand
Only a truly integrated back-end system can handle the complex load of product information required to inform this level of sophistication in a front-end, online user experience. Images, video, and other product data used to compile this front-end typically live across a number of applications and/or programs. It is likely that sophisticated ERP, WMS and PIM applications are being used to push product data to the Sephora websites.
For consistency across sales channels that includes their in-store experience, this data needs to be stored in a central location. A central point of data truth for each Sephora SKU beauty product. This could be their ERP in traditional data integration method, or even their eCommerce store, in a Hybrid Method. Either way, with agile data integration of all systems, Sephora can take this ‘master copy’ of SKU data and automate it out to different applications with the same level of detailed information — both visual, textual etc.
Instilling Community and Confidence with Risk Free Reviews
In eCommerce, review sections have grown beyond the basic 5-star rating system into communities of brand advocates. These product reviews are essential in brands building trust with their customers. In fact, 93% of customers trust word of mouth recommendations from family and friends over other sources.
It is now the standard for Merchants to have multi-faceted review portals. This encourages reviewers to input multiple dimensions of their experience with the product.
Sephora takes the Review experience one step further by encouraging customers to review through a Sephora Points Loyalty system that ensures retention. It also filters product reviews by “Verified Purchasers”. Product reviews are managed by a third party to ensure authentic reviews from real customers. As well, a complex filtering system for reviews categorizes: skin type, age, skin concern and alot more. The level of detail that the review section has on any given product gives future customers greater confidence in their purchase. Combine that with a generous return and shipping policy, Shopping online at Sephora is virtually risk-free. All together, this works towards creating and nurturing brand loyalty and a real and vibrant organic user community.
Sephora clearly gleams a wealth of information on their customers wants and needs from these reviews. Integrating this customer data deeper into backend applications and marry it with consumer behavior means they have useful and actionable data they can insert back into ecommerce customer experience strategies.
Building An Authentic Community By Unified Front-End And Back-End Customer Experience
Brands looking to implement Sephora-like good customer experience must know it lies in being consistent across all customer touch points. The significant back-end technology that Sephora employs shows their priorities to data integration and the customer experience. When brands try to cheat their way out of implementing real strategic vision, it shows in the customer experience. Merchants looking to compete must put their money where their mouth is and prioritize tight data integrations and automations across their business. From sophisticated marketing automation, faster shipping and delivery times, and much more, the power of insight into all your commerce channels is directly related to the quality of your data integration.
“The power of insight into all your channels is directly related to the quality of your data integration.”
The Benefits Of Embracing Organization-Wide Integration
Post-pandemic with high inflation and supply chain issues, the importance of transparency throughout the supply chain is critical to operational efficiency for Merchants. This requires a data integration strategy crafted by experts that allow the integration and automation of data from checkout to shipping, returns and exchanges both in-store and online that re-enforces a positive customer experience and customer loyalty.
“In my view, the future of retail in America is the ability for shoppers to park right next door, to jump in and out for a [buy online, pick up in store] order,” said Sephora Americas CEO Jean-Andre Rougeot. “That is what retail is about moving forward.”
Our VL OMNI iPaaS managed service integration platform is designed to manage complex and sophisticated data integrations like those used by Sephora sites. Our goal is to provide 100% data integration for our Merchants so that they can focus on growing their businesses.