Sephora Beauty Insider: The Continuing Transformation of Sephora Points

Here’s how the Sephora Beauty Insider rewards program caters to beauty lovers who like to try new things — and why it works for business.

Banner for Antavo’s Sephora Beauty Insider Review
Banner for Antavo’s Sephora Beauty Insider Review

Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program has been an inspiration for many other loyalty programs in and outside of the world of beauty. The program is known for plenty of rewards, point bonuses, a beauty-loving community, and unique experiences.

The famous Sephora Beauty Insider rewards program, has always adapted to the times. That’s why it’s an important program to keep an eye on. Its most recent makeover happened in 2020, helping the beauty retailer accommodate the sharp rise of eCommerce business.

So many beauty brands have had great success with rewards programs. It makes a lot of sense from the business standpoint, because beauty products have a short purchase cycle and are thus perfect candidates for many repeat purchases. What’s more, the customer life cycle is long: most people use hair, skincare and other beauty products throughout their lives. And, finally, customers are passionate about beauty, so retailers and brands in this industry have a unique opportunity to build communities around their products.

Although Sephora has multiple loyalty programs, thanks to the company’s international presence (the program is called Beauty Pass in many countries), in this edition of our loyalty program review series, we’ll learn more about Sephora Rewards in the U.S. and see what the program is doing oh-so-right.

Registration Page – A Clear Overview

Sephora’s rewards program landing page, where customers can get more information and sign up for the program, gets straight down to business, conveying the benefits of the different membership tiers in a table.

This is a pretty no-nonsense page which highlights what members can get in the program and one highlighted reward for credit card holders.

A table showing the benefits available to Sephora Beauty Insider members, organized in three tiers.
Nearly all of the Sephora Beauty Insider benefits are available at all three member tiers. The table makes it easy to see what you’ll get as a member, although the meaning of multiple dots could be clearer.

Enrollment – Asking Customers to Share

Registration happens through a straightforward form where customers need to enter their first and last name, email address, optional phone number, account password, date of birth and zip code. It’s a relatively long form, but the beauty brand has made it clear why they’re asking.

New registrants are taken directly to a membership page where they can see their points balance, available Beauty Insider Cash and featured rewards.

Why it works

  • Sephora Beauty Insider asks for more than just name and email information, which can sometimes turn registrants away. To ensure Sephora keeps interest, they show how customers will be rewarded for providing their date of birth.
  • Taking customers directly to the membership page after registration without confirming an email address or leaving the website allows new members to actively discover more without the risk of getting sidetracked.
A form that is a part of Sephora Beauty Insider’s registration process
Sephora asks for more information than many companies, but they provide reasons directly in the registration form for customers to understand why they’re asking.

Point Accrual – Where Gamification Begins

The beauty brand makes it very clear how Sephora points work. The program is highly transactional. Tiers are based on spend and so is the point system.

Members earn one point per dollar spent. However, the company keeps things more interesting with point multiplier events. Members in higher tiers get higher multipliers and can earn more points (2x, 3x or even 4x) for the same level of spend. Sephora also uses point multipliers to draw attention to specific brands and beauty products.

While the program focuses heavily on customer spend and transactions, it was recently announced that the retailer is bringing back their virtual, interactive Sephora event with additional point accrual potential for US customers. The event will include a new system that allows attendees to earn Beauty Insider points in return for playing games throughout the virtual space.

Adding additional emotional and non-transactional activities is one way we would love to see the program evolve in the future.

Why it works

  • Simplicity is king. If point earning is easy to calculate, you won’t need to field many questions about how the program operates.
  • Keep it interesting. By adding point multiplier events, Sephora can create the incentive to act, while also giving customers the element of excitement and game-like fun.
  • The beauty brand can highlight key products or relieve their inventory of overstock by using point multipliers to encourage customers to take a closer look.

Rewards and Benefits – Nearly Limitless Options

The strikingly large rewards catalog, otherwise known as the Rewards Bazaar, is the pride and joy of Beauty Insider. Members can exchange their points for a huge selection of products or experiences. Experiences include, for example, private beauty chats with featured experts and private beauty parties.

Customers can also opt to spend their points on purchases now. A more recent addition to the Sephora loyalty program, Beauty Insider Cash gives members $10 off for every 500 points that they earn.

Beauty Insider also features charity rewards, where customers can opt to spend their points to support featured charity organizations. That speaks to Sephora’s intention to create a loyalty experience that connects with emotions.

In a Forbes feature about the loyalty program’s 2020 update, Allegra Stanley, VP of Loyalty at the company said, “Research has found that almost 75% of what drives customer engagement and loyalty are emotional perks. Now more than ever customers, especially the younger generations, decide to engage with brands based on emotional loyalty drivers.”

Why it works

  • Sephora always offers variety and freedom of choice between a range of options, whether it’s part of their free sample collection, birthday gifts, or other rewards options.
  • The new Beauty Insider Cash feature gives customers money to spend on whatever they want — the ultimate freedom.
  • Allowing customers to spend their points for charity is a great way to connect with customers on an emotional, values-based level.
An image showing a selection of birthday rewards for Sephora Beauty Insider members to choose from.
Beauty Insider members can choose from free birthday gifts, or get a point bonus for their special day. Higher tier members have more options to choose from.

Loyalty App – Straightforward Shopping

The Sephora app is a mobile shopping app, however it does let customers log in to view and use their loyalty points and Beauty Insider Cash. Special in-app offers are available.

Linking the loyalty program experience into your shopping app is a smart way to ensure customers can access everything they need while shopping and ensures they are using their loyalty program benefits to the fullest — helping you to prevent disengagement.

As a side note, the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty program and app experience differ across global markets. It’s worth mentioning that, in some countries, non-transactional in-app actions are rewarded with points, for example app downloads and product review submissions.

A screenshot of the Sephora mobile app
Sephora’s app is a mobile shopping experience where members who are signed in can access and use their Beauty Insider rewards.

Why it works

  • Ensuring your loyalty program is accessible and usable from the app ensures that the loyalty experience is readily available on mobile, whenever customers choose to shop there.
  • This also gives you an opportunity to use push notification communications about special loyalty offers, bonuses, new rewards, and motivating messages about how close customers are to their next big points milestone or reward in the program.

Final Judgment

Sephora Beauty Insider is a well-rounded program that includes a wide range of point-earning potential and an enormous selection of rewards. Their tier system and surrounding communication is very motivating and encourages customers to want to move up the ranks and access more benefits. And we’re particularly excited to see the unstoppable beauty retailer tie their upcoming Sephora virtual event into the loyalty program and offer customers non-transactional ways to earn points. We hope to see more of that in the future.

Pros and cons of the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty program.

Do you have a loyalty concept in mind? Our experts are more than happy to discuss how Antavo’s technology can turn it into a reality. Feel free to include us in your RFP or contact us directly.

And if you’re looking to create an engaging rewards experience similar to what the Sephora Rewards program offers, use our Rewards Planning Worksheet as a place to start your planning process.

Banner recommending readers to download Antavo's Reward Planning Worksheet

Headshot of Jessica Mizerak

Jessica Mizerak

Jessica is a Loyalty Program Analyst, helping companies learn more about customer retention strategies, so they can launch successful loyalty programs. When she’s not writing about loyalty, she’s improving her skills in dance and aerials.

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