In Brands, Exclusives, Insight, Marketing, Retail

Reaching the top of your category at Sephora is no easy feat, but beauty expert Sabrina Yavil has done it. Sabrina is a former executive at Bumble and Bumble and Clinique and she shared her secrets in the How To Become #1 In your Category at Sephora webinar.

Here are her 5 tips for getting to the top at Sephora.

1. 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.”

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

2. Leverage insights from Sephora

“Knowing which products or categories are doing well can help you prioritize what to focus on and invest in,” says Sabrina. This means asking your buyer for as much data as they’re willing to share about the category. Sephora shared the following winning areas with Sabrina as she researched how to position a new Clinique acne product at Sephora:

  • Spa treatments and sets were the best-selling subcategories
  • Acne clients were quite knowledgeable and selective about acne ingredients
  • Clients were looking for efficacy and fast results.

So when deciding which existing products to re-support, and which new products would launch, Sabrina prioritized on products within those winning areas.

3. Be Differentiated

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

  • Do you really know what the customer wants and what drives them?
  • Have you looked at your own retail sales reports to find 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 discover?

Using all the data you have access to 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.”

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 industry.

5. Attract new clients

This is the most common objective for beauty and personal care brands. Sabrina understands the importance of retaining existing clients, “but to be number one in your category you need to keep filling the funnel.” She offers the following tips to attract new clients:

  • Get found on 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
  • 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.

Want to hear more of Sabrina’s insights? You can access the How To Become #1 In Your Category at Sephora webinar here.

Ready to take your Sephora business to the next level, download The Ultimate Guide to Selling at Sephora.

Photo: Fab Lentz via Unsplash

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