Our Listrak Retail Reality trip to NYC and our Sephora visit has been mentioned, but we wanted to take a moment to expand on the experience that we had in the store and the follow-up we have received since our visit, as well as a more recent trip to our local Sephora store in our mall.

I have the Sephora App on my phone, complete with all of my personal settings which made life easier while in the store. When we entered, a sales consultant asked if he could be of any help. I explained that I was looking for new powder foundation, and he suggested trying out the Pocket Contour Class within the Sephora App. This is touted as a step-by-step tutorial based on my personal features using a picture that you take in the store of yourself. The tutorial maps your features right away and provides you with the shape of your face and the preference of foundation. It then walks you through the recommended beauty routine; everything from the shade of foundation to where to apply it, what type of brush to use and the recommended brands. I emailed the new process to myself and set off to find the foundation in the store. This is where the experienced transitioned back from my mobile device to the store associate because I definitely needed his help in navigating the store to find the product.

The stop-by-step contouring guide email that I received provided a visual for the recommended new process as well as the products. In clicking on the products, though, it took me to a page with 10 product results and only one of the three recommended products showed up. While the email was really useful in helping me apply the foundation correctly, it really lacked a clear call to action to purchase the products. By the time I got to the page below I was ready to purchase, but becoming overwhelmed.

Sephora also offers a really useful interactive display in its stores that help customers find the correct foundation color. The sales associate found my perfect match and then offered up a number of options. I asked if the recommendations could be emailed to me and she entered my email address but the email never arrived, which is unfortunate because those recommendations are some of the most personal and useful ones around.

The associate showed me several of the products in the store and suggested that I use Sephora’s app to scan the merchandise that I like so it is saved to my favorites. I would have preferred to receive an email with this information but this tool was helpful.

I made my selections and went to the counter to checkout. But I had the app open and noticed the “mobile offers” option so I asked the cashier if there were any special offers I could apply to my purchase. Another useful shopping tool! I asked for an eReceipt and was told that all of my purchases are available in the app, which I can use if I need to return any products or if I’d like to reorder any of the merchandise.

Overall, Sephora is doing a nice job with its app; it’s one of the most comprehensive ones out there, but when it comes to cross-channel email promotions and finalizing the sale, it could make this more seamless.

If you're thinking about adding interactive displays in your stores, be sure that the technology you're investing in will actually help customers shop and, more importantly, purchase. Don't add technology just for the sake of it. Questions? We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

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