Case Study: Sephora

Sephora – Retargeting With Direct Mail Amplifies Results.

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Direct Mail Brings Shoppers Back To Their Abandoned Carts

When international beauty brand Sephora includes direct mail in its retargeting program, the company discovers personalized print motivates people to finalize sales.

More Than A Pretty Face

Since its debut 20 years ago, Sephora has earned a loyal and committed following. It’s no surprise, considering the omnichannel retailer offers 14,000 beauty and wellness products from 200 carefully curated brands. Customers flock to 400 of the company’s stores across North America, as well as 600 locations inside JCPenney, for prestige products. Sephora’s Beauty Studios, smaller, stand-alone retail outlets, provide personalized, one-on-one services including makeovers and mini-facials. The three-tiered Beauty Insider program encourages shopping with increasing rewards as devotees make more purchases. The community of customers and advocates remains steadfast because of the Sephora experience, both in-store and online. For those online customers, the company has a robust digital retargeting program designed to keep them coming back.

Cart abandonment is a reality of e-commerce. Even loyal customers visit many of a website’s pages, click on multiple products and build big baskets, only to shut down before checking out. Sephora monitors those shoppers and has an effective email strategy in place to re-engage them. “Still, we were interested in testing another personalized omnichannel approach to increase conversion,” says Deborah Neff, former Senior Vice-President of Marketing, at Sephora Canada.


Could Direct Mail Convince Customers To Revisit Their Abandoned Carts?

To answer the question, Sephora worked with Canada Post’s Expert Partner, AIIM (formerly Prime Data), to create a control group and a test group. Each group consisted of 13,000 online customers who had recently visited and added products to their cart, but, for some reason, didn’t go through with the purchase.

Twenty-four hours after abandoning their cart, both groups received an email reminding them of the item they viewed and inviting them to return to the site and buy it. The test group received a second communication, a personalized direct mail piece.

Sephora Abandoned Cart Direct MailThe 6 x 9-inch cards included pictures of top-selling Sephora products and one item that the recipient had abandoned in their cart. The cards were mailed within 48 hours of customers abandoning their carts, and arrived at their homes within five days.



Retargeting Works – Adding Direct Mail Amplifies The Results.

The effect of the personalized direct mail was impressive: The test group had a 16% higher response rate than the control group. Meaning those people who received the direct mail were more likely to return in-store or online to buy one of the products they’d previously abandoned in their cart. “While this was a preliminary test,” says Neff, “the results showed that personalization resonates with our clients and direct mail is a potential tactic we’ll consider for future campaigns.”

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