Saturday, January 19, 2008
Sephora's half hearted Beauty Insider loyalty program
I'm a 'beauty insider' at Sephora. It's Sephora's half hearted attempt at creating a loyalty program. When I spend a certain amount of money at any one of their stores or on-line I earn points that can be traded in for free samples. I can only imagine that Sephora's marketing department felt that they needed a customer loyalty program to help stave off increasing competition, but didn't have the budget to throw at it and instead decided to put those boxes of samples (provided to them for free from the various brands they represent no doubt) to better use. Now instead of feeling rewarded when I visit Sephora I feel like I'm shopping at a store that could care less if I ever come back, because I'm not even worth a free sample unless I've already spent a certain amount of money. I have to wonder if the average person also feels disdain for Sephora's Beauty Insider program. Or if because I'm a marketer I'm more of a cynic. After all, Sephora should be giving everyone free samples, it shouldn't be a condition of loyalty. It just makes sense because free samples bring in more sales. And if Sephora truly wanted to reward its customers it should do so in a more meaningful way such as special shopping events, discounts, free full sized products, priority beauty consultations, etc. Leave the free samples to their purpose - getting people to sample and buy.