In this webinar, Askuity's own Sarah Adams hosts a discussion with Sabrina Yavil about how beauty and personal care brands can become #1 in their category at Sephora.

Sabrina is the former Executive Director of Global Marketing at Clinique. At Clinique, Sabrina set the strategy for how they were going to grow their categories and brought these strategies to life. Today, Sabrina consults for beauty and personal care brands selling into major retailers across North America.

#1 Establish clear objectives.

So the first and most important step to becoming number one in your category at Sephora is to establish clear objectives. “When I was at Clinique we wanted to be number one in acne at Sephora but we also wanted to increase our penetration of Beauty insiders,” Sabrina says. Most often, winning new business tops the list for most brands, “Most brands that I’m working with right now are looking for customer acquisition,” Sabrina says. She offers three tips to establish clear objectives:

  • Prioritize which activities will have the biggest impact
  • Identify which of your retailer’s goals are similar to yours
  • Align on expectations around sales timing and investment

To dig a little deeper into these objectives, click here and jump to this section of the webinar.

#2 Leverage insights from Sephora.

“That may or may not seem obvious but the insights from Sephora impacted our messaging product innovation pipeline and claims testing,” Sabrina says. So when deciding which existing products to re-support, and which new products would launch, they made sure to focus on products within those winning areas.

Standing out at Sephora means getting noticed among over 300 other brands competing for consumer attention. So positioning is critical. Sabrina recommends asking yourself the following questions in order correctly position your product:

  • Do you really know what she (the customer) wants or what drives her
  • Have you looked at your retail sales reports to get new insights into which products to choose?
  • Can you offer Sephora a limited-time or limited-edition exclusive?
  • Can you align with Sephora’s growth categories?
  • Are you delighting clients with a new discovery?

Sabrina covers a few more questions you should be asking yourself in the webinar here. Using all of the data you have will help you make an informed decision. “This is where we leveraged all of our market research, competitive reviews, Sephora insights, customer surveys, and product reviews,” Sabrina adds.

#3 Be differentiated.

Standing out at Sephora means getting noticed among over 300 other brands competing for consumer attention. So positioning is critical. Sabrina recommends asking yourself the following questions in order correctly position your product:

  • Do you really know what she (the customer) wants or what drives her?
  • Have you looked at your retail sales reports to get new insights into which products to choose?
  • Can you offer Sephora a limited-time or limited-edition exclusive?
  • Can you align with Sephora’s growth categories?
  • Are you delighting clients with a new discovery?

Sabrina covers a few more questions you should be asking yourself in the webinar here. Using all of the data you have will help you make an informed decision. “This is where we leveraged all of our market research, competitive reviews, Sephora insights, customer surveys, and product reviews,” Sabrina adds.

#4 Drive strong client engagement.

In today’s hyper-connected world, earning strong brand loyalty is no easy feat. Like many retailers, Sephora’s clients tend to research products online before they buy. Sabrina offers the following tips to keep clients engaged with your brand online and in store:

  • Enhance online product pages with a product or how-to video
  • Give influencers early preview samples to drive positive product reviews
  • Deliver in-store training, gratis products, and strong talking points to turn
  • Sephora cast members into advocates
  • Track where field team education is taking place and whether those doors are seeing an increase in sales

She adds, “Brands need to create digital content that builds an emotional connection with consumers and helps them discover your products.” A strong online presence also shows that your brand is committed to staying connected with your audience, and this is critical in the beauty and personal care category. Sabrina covers more about the importance of staying connected to your audience in the webinar here.

5. Attract new clients

This is the most common objective for beauty and personal care brands. “I’m really big on retaining the clients you have, but to be number one in your category you need to keep filling the funnel,” Sabrina advises. She offers the following tips to attract new clients:

Get found on Sephora.com: if you’re not on the homepage or ranking high in search results your product or brand may not be visible!

Ask to be included in feature categories online: clients who typically shop in-store may not know that you’re available on Sephora.com.

Create a sense of discovery: sampling your best sellers is a great way to get new exposure.

Expect to invest in targeted advertising: If you don’t have a TV or print budget, focus on paid search and social ads to build awareness.

Sabrina has a playful example in this section of the webinar about filling the funnel, as she compares ads to a first date.

Conclusion

To recap the webinar Sabrina rehashes the importance of understanding what the key levers are at Sephora, prioritizing what you can do reasonably well, making sure that you’ve budgeted for resources, and planning ahead several seasons. Sabrina adds, “Making sure that your goals are aligned and that you’re keeping communication open is really important.”

There is a lot of detail contained in the full webinar that we weren’t able to get to in this article, so I highly recommend watching the full 30-minute webinar here if you’re looking to improve your category position at Sephora!