In-Depth Marketing Strategy of Sephora – With STP Analysis

Updated on: Jul 19, 2022
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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

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In a previous article, we learned about the SWOT analysis of Sephora. In this blog, we are going to elaborate on the marketing strategy of Sephora – a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products.

The objective is to learn and gain insights into Sephora and how it became the World’s premium brand of beauty and wellness products.

So, as you can see, the world is fully online now, and marketing is the rib of every industry. If you are interested in marketing, check out our Free Masterclass on Digital Marketing by the CEO and founder of IIDE, Karan Shah.

We will learn the entire marketing strategy of Sephora by the end of this blog. Before diving deep into it the marketing strategy of Sephora, let’s begin with the company’s story, target audience, and digital presence.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

About Sephora

Marketing Strategy of Sephora

This company operates over 2700 stores in 35 countries all over the world, the first store was established US store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 1998,

Sephora is owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, it’s a luxurious store and is also known for its uniqueness featuring emerging favorites, trusted classics, and Sephora’s line, Sephora Collection. Sephora remains curated by innovative brands including a robust clean beauty assortment and exclusive brands like Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez and FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna brought to market first by Sephora.

In today’s day and age, Sephora is a powerful beauty presence in countries around the world thanks to our unparalleled assortment of prestige products in every category, unbiased service all with beauty experts, interactive shopping environment, and relentless innovation, including their expanding array of how clients can catch up with Sephora.

 

Quick Stats on Sephora
CEO Martin Brok
CMO Deborah Yeh
Area Served Worldwide
Industry Beauty and wellness products
Market Share/ Revenue Over US$10 billion (2019)
Vision To become the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Champion
Tagline “We Belong to Something Beautiful”

 

Current News

  • As an official partner of the torch relay at the # Paris2023 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Sephora was pleased to make the Beauty of France shine over the globe.
  • In June 2023, we witnessed genuine love and diversity at its finest. Additionally, we joined forces with other Maison to take part in the LVMH Mexico City pride march for the first time. We appreciate your participation in the celebration, a place where inclusivity is our guiding principle and beauty knows no bounds. 
  • Jenny Cheah joined Sephora as the organization’s new Managing Director for Southeast Asia, Oceania, and South Korea.
  • Sephora participated in a fun-filled event encouraging inclusion for persons with intellectual and developmental impairments by teaming up with Best Buddies International Miami Friendship Walk. There was something for everyone to enjoy at the Sephora event booth, including popsicles, yard games, photo opportunities, and a coloring wall.
  • SEPHORA ANNOUNCES RETURN OF UK STORE AT WESTFIELD LONDON. This spring, French beauty and skincare company Sephora will resume customer service in the UK after only 18 years.

User Persona

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Rashmi Jain

Place:

Vijay Nagar, Indore

Age:

30 years

Profession:

HR

Motivation

  • Huge variety to choose from.
  • Quality Products.

Interest & Hobbies

  • Dancing
  • Playing volleyball
  • Shopping 
  • Clubbing 
  • Making reels

Pain Points

  • High price

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • Facebook 
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube 
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Marketing Strategy of Sephora

Sephora’s reward programs, influencer marketing strategies, campaigns, etc. have benefitted them immensely. They strive to connect with their customers!

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

The target audience of Sephora is mainly women, in their pre-teen to middle-age years. This is the group that cares most about lifestyle and status symbols, they care about themselves a lot. 

Women who are really into luxury beauty and personal care products belonging to the upper-middle and rich class are the customers of Sephora. Sephora started in Paris as a retail store. It has now expanded around the world and offers its product range as well.

Sephora positioned itself in the market by being the first one to start assisted self-service in the retail industry. It has been continuously rolling out new stores in most countries.

Marketing Campaigns 

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - Campaign 1

Sephora recently launched the ‘Black Beauty is Beauty’, a new campaign celebrating the countless Black traditions and inventions that have propagated the beauty trends we all know and love – from stylized baby hairs and cut-crease eyeshadow to glitter and shea butter-based skincare. The campaign is part of the retailer’s broader commitment to advancing racial equity in the beauty and retail sectors.

Popular cosmetics retailer Sephora has today launched a new national ad campaign spotlighting the outsized impact of Black innovations on the world of beauty. The campaign’s hero film ‘Black Beauty is Beauty’ spotlights Black stories, communities, and cultural traditions behind popular beauty tools and techniques beloved by people everywhere.

The unlimited power of beauty

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - Campaign 2

In February 2020, Sephora launched “The Unlimited Power of Beauty”, a signature that delivers a strong, ambitious and all-encompassing view of beauty. It reaffirms the industry’s role, and thus SEPHORA’s position as a leader, and it creates room for self-expression, showing the variety of authentic and powerful beauties that make up today’s world. It is a way to feel invested in a community far beyond sales and performance. We all have this power in our hands.

NEW Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez | Sephora

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - Campaign 3

In September 2020, pop star singer – Selena Gomez launched her new brand Rare Beauty which was only available at Sephora. In the video, you will see Selena conveying to everyone to accept & celebrate our differences and explaining her brand and how her brand Rare Beauty brings to the table—gorgeous formulas that enhance what you’ve already got without hiding your imperfections. 

The brand is all about accepting who you are and loving who you are, It’s okay not to look like everyone else, you are perfect on your own and you’re rare. Through this ad campaign and with the brand Rare Beauty, many young women felt comfortable and confident moving into society. The campaign got immense love and support from the people.

Digital Marketing Strategies of Sephora

  • The Unlimited Power of Beauty campaign: The Unlimited Power of Beauty campaign honors every woman’s beauty, regardless of her age, race, or ethnicity. The campaign portrays a diverse group of women, each of whom exudes self-assurance and beauty. A number of short films were released to accompany the campaign’s premiere on social media and Sephora’s website. These films depict the lives of the women who were featured in the campaign.
  • Black Beauty is Beauty campaign: This initiative honors the contributions made by Black people to the beauty sector. The campaign explores the numerous ways that Black people have affected beauty trends over the years and showcases a varied cast of Black models and influencers. On social media and Sephora’s website, the campaign was introduced and was accompanied by a number of instructional materials explaining the background of Black beauty.
  • Pride Month campaign: This initiative honors Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community. The campaign emphasizes the value of self-expression and acceptance and showcases a wide group of LGBTQ+ models and influencers. Along with a number of educational resources regarding LGBTQ+ history and culture, the campaign was introduced on social media and Sephora’s website.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is really important when it comes to gathering the audience at large and no wonder a brand like Sephora uses it to its full advantage.

Sephora can be found on four social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. They have two accounts on Instagram one is the worldwide account and another Indian account. You can visit and check their content on all the platforms. 

The posts posted by Sephora on Facebook & Instagram are the same except on Linkedin where the posts are more towards the corporate side. The posts on Facebook & Instagram are related to the promotion of new launches of beauty and cosmetic products, marketing collaborations with influences & celebrities, discounts & offers, beauty-related tips and guidance, health & hygiene, etc., and more.

  1. Instagram: Sephora on Instagram has 21M followers and Sephora_india has 649k followers.
  2. LinkedIn: Sephora’s profile on LinkedIn has a total of 1.5M followers.
  3. Facebook: Sephora on Facebook has a total of 19M followers.
  4. Twitter: Sephora’s profile on Twitter has a total of 2.3M followers.

As we can see from the above stats, the brand is most followed on Facebook and they keep their followers. Sephora keeps its customers hooked up on all the platforms and they are super active in all the channels. The type of content that the brand utilizes is; informational, and promotional, and as well as they do product launches too.

Hey, If you want your business to be success on social media platforms or have a curiosity about how marketing works on these channels, then you must check out the short-term SEM course offered by IIDE in which you will get everything you are looking for to know-how marketing works on social media.

SEO Strategies

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - SEO

As SEO ranking suggests, the number of organic keywords – below 500 is poor, above 1000 is characterized as good and 10,000+ is characterized as stunning.

As we can see https://www.sephora.com/ has 2,551,111 organic keywords, and it is considered out of the league. Hence, the digital marketing of Sephora is gaining an unexpected number of insights.

Further, the organic traffic per month is 23,236003 which is again very astonishing. As a result, Sephora is putting total effort into its SEO strategies for better promotion of the brand. While the brand is working hard to strengthen its position in Google SERP results.

SEO helps in achieving your long-term goals for your brand. A good ranking and a favorable placement help in raising the profile of your brand. In short, SEO strategies are crucial for the development of the website and to provide more visibility to the relevant audience.

If you are someone who doesn’t want to miss any step in implementing the right SEO for your new website, then you must have a thorough go-through of our in-depth blog on Step-by-Step Guide on SEO for New Websites in 2022 – IIDE where you will explore a new website SEO checklist, all the SEO requirements for a new website, how long does SEO takes to work for a new website, and more. 

Influencer Marketing

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - Influencer

Sephora created an influencer partnership with enthusiasts of the make-up world who will create content for the company. In the selection process to become Sephora’s influencer, Sephora curates more than 15,000 applications to bring you the first 25 members of the #SephoraSquad who will create content for the brand.

This selected group of beauty influencers is incredibly diverse, representing a wide range of ethnicities, nationalities, genders and sexual orientations, skin tones, and hair textures. Such programs give them the backing to test Sephora’s products and review them across the internet.

The giant beauty retailer Sephora took advantage of the chance to interact with its audience of micro-influencers, who are already interested in makeup reviews, to persuade them to promote products by creating content further helping in generating consumer leads for Sephora.

E-Commerce Strategies

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - e-com

Sephora sells all its products through its website. Sephora has developed an innovative tool called the Virtual Artist, it uses face recognition technology, which makes shopping from home for certain products very close to the real or in-store experience. Sephora products can also be purchased on Amazon, Myntra and many other such sites. 

Mobile App

Marketing Strategy of Sephora - Mobile App

Sephora has a mobile application called Sephora through which customers can on the go purchase skincare, makeup and beauty products from top sustainability-minded brands. On the app, the customer can also access inspiration, exclusive offers, and more.

The application provides a feature of live chat support where users can get unbiased opinions and recommendations of products from expert beauty advisors. Customers of Sephora can easily reserve products online to pick them up in-store or order them and get same-day delivery by using the app. The application got more than 50 Lakh+ downloads with a star rating of 4.7.

Content Marketing Strategies

Luxury brands are not known for allowing consumers to dictate trends and brand initiatives. They’ve had long-standing policies of disseminating their editorial point of view through traditional channels and using aspirational imagery to create irrational demand.

Sephora does not want to give its customers that untouchable impression. Instead, it has adopted a strategy of an honest and open two-way conversation. The meaning and commitment behind Sephora’s tagline, “Let’s beauty together,” permeates across its marketing and pays off big in customer loyalty.

Sephora believes each social media serves a different communal purpose. On Instagram, they use live, stories and posts, focusing on the quick eye candy. On YouTube, they post long-form educational content. Facebook and Snapchat are used for event coverage.

They never tried to sell their brand directly, but rather they followed the path of indirectly promoting it through engaging and informative content. 

The users on social media platforms and visitors to the website enjoy the content related to the industry and associate Sephora with the content that they love to consume. This is also the reason why Sephora is successful in obtaining relevant traffic on its website.

We know you also want to attract and engage your desired target audience without forcing them to make purchases. Well, for that, you’ll need to muster a basic understanding of how to create a holistic content marketing strategy to ultimately convert them into paying customers without insisting they pay.

Competitors List

  • Ulta Beauty, Inc. is an American luxury department store chain headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in 1901. The original Wallin & Nordstrom store operated exclusively as a shoe store, and a second Nordstrom shoe store opened in 1923.
  • L’Oreal currently markets over 500 brands and thousands of individual products in all sectors of the beauty business: hair color, permanents, hair styling, body and skin care, cleansers, makeup, and fragrances.
  • The Estee Lauder Company is an American multinational cosmetics company, a manufacturer and marketer of makeup, skincare, perfume, and hair care products, based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is the second-largest cosmetics company in the world after L’Oréal.
  • Nordstrom, Inc. is an American luxury department store chain headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in 1901. The original Wallin & Nordstrom store operated exclusively as a shoe store, and a second Nordstrom shoe store opened in 1923.
  • Avon Products, Inc. simply known as Avon, is an AmericanBritish multinational cosmetics, skincare, perfume, and personal care company, based in London. It sells directly to the public. Avon had annual sales of $9.1 billion worldwide in 2020. It is the fourteenth-largest beauty company

Some Failed Campaigns & Their Comeback

Despite having a ready market for its skincare and makeup, SEPHORA failed in Hong Kong. SEPHORA Hong Kong 9 years later. Hong Kong appears to offer plenty of make-up and skincare choices, but if you consider yourself a global citizen there’s a good chance your holy grail items aren’t available.

In “Asia’s world city”, it seems only a small percentage of people fitting narrow beauty standards are catered for. Even among brands known for their extensive ranges, many shoppers are missing out. Take MAC Cosmetics’ Studio Fix Fluid foundation; Hong Kong stores carry 10 shades – out of 42.

This ends the elaborative marketing strategy of Sephora. Let us conclude our learning below from the marketing strategy of Sephora.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

Conclusion 

To conclude the marketing strategy of Sephora, Sephora has a huge customer base and is rightly positioned in the minds of its target market, audience, and customers. All thanks to the amazing marketing strategies that Sephora used be it SEO, SMM, content marketing, mobile app, e-commerce, etc.

The company has outperformed its competitors, and the main reason for this is the company’s outstanding marketing efforts in highlighting the brand to its customers. As the digital space is experiencing a boom in today’s world, a company needs to do better digital marketing. 

Check our Online Digital Marketing Course if you want to learn more and improve your skills. Alternatively, you can enroll in one of our free online masterclasses led by IIDE’s CEO, Karan Shah, to gain insight into the field of digital marketing. 

We hope this blog on the marketing strategy of Sephora has given you a good insight into the company’s marketing strategies. If you like such in-depth analysis of companies just like the marketing strategy of Sephora check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

 If you want to have a look at the case study of the Nykaa brand, here you go. Thank you for taking the time to read the marketing strategy of Sephora, and do share your thoughts on this case study marketing strategy of Sephora in the comments section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

1 Comment

  1. Ritika Jain

    Marketing strategy of sephora,coupled with a thorough STP analysis,unveils its unique approach to customer engagement and brand positioning.

    Reply

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