Sephora’s retail teams have been operating differently since the company broke down one of the biggest internal barriers in October of last year, combining its in-store and digital teams. Mary Beth Laughton, who had been the company’s svp of digital since 2014, assumed a new title as evp of omni retail.
The decision was a sign of the times, said Laughton. The company had to take a step back and consider how the customer today shops, and then realign itself accordingly.
“We should be fine with wherever the customer wants to shop, and our existing organization didn’t reflect that mindset,” said Laughton. “So we brought in-store and digital under one roof, along with customer service. It’s changed the way we think about sales metrics, engagements and experiences across channels.”
Since the teams were combined, Sephora’s customer profiles have been rebuilt to include 360-degree data that tracks in-store purchases, interactions with sales people, online browsing and online purchasing. The company has rethought how it considers sales metrics, in order to trace the behavior that led up to a sale. And at the center of the strategy is mobile, which plays a role in both physical and digital retail — not to mention that customers who download the Sephora app are the most loyal.
“If a customer browsed online then bought in store, we can see that. We just weren’t looking at it before, but it’s a win for both channels,” said Laughton. “We had good relationships across our channels, but we weren’t collaborating or finding synergies, and we were maximizing business in isolation. We’re more aligned, and we can move faster across in-store, online and mobile strategies. Mobile is the glue that holds it all together.”