Always at the forefront of latest trends, Sephora’s unique shopping experience offers beauty clients across the world an unparalleled choice of skincare, makeup, fragrance and haircare from top brands. Sephora is present in 35 countries with over 2,600 stores, most recently expanding into the UK.
In October 2022, Sephora and Ometria worked together to pull off an incredibly successful rebrand which fully integrated Feelunique UK into Sephora; introducing Sephora to the UK market.
The process of rebranding can include risks such as losing customers, damaging brand reputation, and causing confusion during the transition. However, with careful strategy and a lot of creativity, the rebrand resulted in:
uplift in click-through rate
uplift in revenue per email
uplift in AOV from the email channel
Here’s a look into how Sephora UK was able to turn a risk into opportunity…
After nearly two decades without the beloved beauty brand, dreams came true in September 2021 when Sephora announced the acquisition of Feelunique to regain their presence in the United Kingdom.
As soon as the “coming soon” news dropped, the UK exploded with anticipation and excitement.
“Rebranding is often seen as a simple change of visual identity, but in reality, it requires a complex orchestration of multiple moving parts. Ometria’s expertise and support was invaluable to ensure a seamless transition for our customers and the success of our rebrand to Sephora UK.”
Amy Smith, Head of Customer Marketing at Sephora UK
Amy Smith, Head of Customer Marketing at Sephora UK, and her team planned, executed and analyzed every single detail in coordination with Ometria’s project management, technical support, implementation and deliverability teams.
First, they defined clear objectives that informed every step of the rebrand process:
1. Worked with Ometria to carefully evaluate scope
Rebranding can come in many forms. For Sephora, it was much more than a simple logo change. There were many infrastructure changes that needed to happen in order for Feelunique UK to successfully absorb into the Sephora brand. Ometria’s technical and deliverability experts worked with Sephora to ensure all of the details were thought of. One of the largest considerations for Sephora’s marketing team would be building a new reputation at mailbox providers since domains and DNS records needed to be updated.
2. Established a timeline that allowed for thorough communication to customers and building sender reputation with mailbox providers
The timeline included contingencies that would be important based on the defined scope. While it can be tempting to skip the necessary steps required to build a positive sender reputation, Sephora didn’t take any shortcuts and spent over 3 weeks segmenting according to the tailored plans Ometria provided to optimize deliverability across their new domains.
3. Put customers at the center of the rebrand experience
There’s a lot of pressure when transitioning a well-loved brand like Feelunique into a household name like Sephora. The objectives defined early on were threaded into every step of the process, especially the content strategy. Sephora used concepts like surveys to understand how customers felt about the transition and then went a step further and translated those results into their content strategy. Check out the Customer Experience timeline below to see the sequence of Sephora’s email creatives nurturing customers through the rebrand.
4. Tracked, monitored and adjusted with every phase of the rebrand
Sephora relied heavily on Ometria’s dashboards to track customer’s reaction to the rebrand. Of course monitoring traditional KPIs is important, but looking at metrics such as open and click rate per mailbox provider becomes critical so that remediation efforts for any deliverability issues can be swift and targeted.
[Ometria’s Campaign Performance Dashboard allows you to monitor your deliverability performance and identify domain issues]
After months of planning and meticulous execution, Sephora UK’s first impression matched the excitement levels they saw at launch. While not always obvious or exciting, the single most important part of a rebrand is getting emails to inboxes. Sephora built a positive reputation across mailbox providers ensuring that existing, new and potential customers were able to not only hear about the rebrand, but become a part of it. The timeline below showcases the outcome of Sephora’s strategic preparation and ultimately what customers experienced through their highest revenue driving channel: email
Date: October 12, 2022
Subject Line: Sephora is coming to the UK
The first email introducing the rebrand included a call-to-action asking customers to share their feelings about Sephora coming to the UK. The “Tell All” button linked to a survey with checkbox, multiple choice and open-ended questions.
Date: October 15, 2022
Subject Line: The results are in
From: FEELUNIQUE soon to be SEPHORA UK
The next email in the sequence gathered those results and shared them with customers; cleverly using user generated content to create incredibly authentic and organic excitement about the rebrand. In addition, the content of the email addressed questions submitted by customers ensuring that any confusion about the brand experience, for example the loyalty program, was resolved.
Date: October 16, 2022
Subject Line: Goodbye Feelunique
From: FEELUNIQUE soon to be SEPHORA UK
From the subject line all the way down to the discount “below the fold”, the third email in the sequence created a sense of nostalgia while committing to keeping the best of Feelunique with the transition to Sephora.
Date: October 17, 2022
Subject Line: SEPHORA has officially landed
From: SEPHORA UK
Finally, the last email in the sequence completed the full transition to Sephora UK, including the “Friendly From”.
“One of the most important pieces of advice I can give is to really take your customers on the rebranding journey with you. From the teaser, to the announcement, and right through to the official launch make sure that they feel included, excited, consulted, and informed on key changes that could impact how they engage with your brand and offering.
We wanted to make sure that our customers didn’t feel like our announcement was a one-way communication to them, so we created multiple opportunities to engage and represent them in the conversation wherever possible, and the response we got was incredible.”
Amy Smith, Head of Customer Marketing, Sephora UK