VIB loyalty program from Sephora – benchmark study

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When designing a loyalty program, great many inspirations and lessons can be found within existing benchmarks. Today we’re taking an examination of Sephora’s VIB loyalty program.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider is a loyalty program consisting of a point card system. This French chain of beauty supply stores has over 500 retail shops in 15 countries. However, Beauty Insider is only available for clients in the USA and Canada. The registration process can be carried out both online and offline, simply by filling in an application through the Sephora website, mobile app (iOS/Android) or in-store.

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Sephora’s points system

Users can earn Beauty Insider points by purchasing merchandise in Sephora online stores, Sephora retail stores and Sephora stores inside JC Penny. Spending $1 equals 1 point. Earning enough points allows customers to redeem rewards – usually deluxe product samples. Rewards valued between 100 and 500 points are available in stores and online, but if claimed online, users must purchase extra merchandise. Rewards valued at 750 points and more are obtainable only online, with free shipping and can be acquired without buying any additional products.

Sephora VIB loyalty program

Tiers of the Sephora’s loyalty program

The program is divided into 3 tiers, first, a free one – Beauty Insider – and two more exclusive ones: VIB (a user can become a member after spending $350 annually) and VIB Rouge (a user can become a member after spending $1000 annually). Being in a higher tier also brings more benefits.

Besides basic profits available to all members (birthday gifts, rewards bazaar, access to the Beauty Insider community, free beauty classes), VIB members also get monthly gifts and a one-time custom makeover. VIB Rouge members, the most elite group, enjoys the 2-day shipping on all orders, a private hotline and invitations to exclusive events. The elitism of the last tier creates the urge to become a member of an extremely small group of the most devoted shoppers. The program offers both product and experience prizes that make gaining points much more exciting.

Sephora VIB loyalty program

Becoming a “Sephora person”

Sephora encourages customers to become long-term users by adjusting the suggested products to users. The history of purchases assigned to each member allows Sephora to customize the shopping experience, which makes the process of buying products easier, faster and more satisfying. Another example of personalization is Birthday gifts offered to each Beauty Insider. A birthday gift can be claimed during the month of a member’s birthday both online and in retail stores. No purchase is required when redeeming in-store however when using the online shop, the user needs to purchase merchandise and the gift will be available at check out.

Sephora VIB loyalty program

This beauty supply chain created a huge online community of shoppers who can exchange their opinions, advice, product reviews and share them with each other. This allows members to start conversations andget to know not only other users, but also the merchandise. Becoming familiar with what the store offers and assurance of the quality of the products by other users, which makes it that much easier to believe in the products themselves..

The platform provides a place where users can interact in a few simple ways listed below:

  • Gallery – a place where a user can both post their pictures (showing the product/products in the meantime) or see others use the merchandise
  • Groups – categories of subjects connected to user’s skin type, favorite types of makeup or just subjects they wish they had more information on
  • Conversations – a forum that encourages users to collaborate. Those more experienced in the world of makeup and skincare can become mentors to the newbies and help them solve their problems
  • Live chat – a place to discuss products with other shoppers in real-time
  • Community events – allows the users to be part of an elite group of invitees, to be an “insider”

What’s more in the Sephora’s loyalty program?

Besides Beauty Insider, Sephora also holds a Card Program which is also based on tiers (White, Black and Gold cards). Users also gain points through purchasing merchandise. Points can be exchanged for prizes.

Sephora benefits strongly from Beauty Insider being one of the most successful loyalty programs. The sense of belongingness creates a bond between long-term customers and the customized experience of not only shopping, but also being a part of a community of beauty lovers. The tiers system sets goals for each member whether it is to reach a higher level or retain their high status, providing Sephora with a huge base of long-term, devoted customers.

Sephora VIB loyalty program

Why does VIB loyalty program work so well?

In the case of Sephora’s VIB loyalty program, we can observe some general rules that make the VIB program extremely successful. First of all, the tier system in the loyalty programs creates the urge to become a member of an elite group. Making the shopping process more exclusive and customized helps the selling platform obtain more devoted users and increase their engagement.

Another thing is that by making customers a part of a community makes them more familiar with the merchandise. Adding a gamification aspect turns them into “mentors” who support less experienced make-up lovers and encourages members to create valuable content.

Obtaining the Sephora’s VIB and VIB Rouge status is extremely hard to achieve. Being a member not only gives the users bragging rights, but also a desire to never lose their status. Thanks to that the brand gains loyal and strongly attached customers.

For more case studies check the best loyalty programs in our TOP 100 Loyalty Programs report.

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Published January 18, 2019