To: Calvin McDonald, President and CEO of Sephora Americas

Dear Calvin,

Normally when you search for a company’s name followed by the word “problem,” you end up with a lot of complaints. But when you run that search for Sephora, the results are mostly about customers who can’t stop spending at your stores.

While these messages are incredible testimonials that live online, across Instagram, Twitter and your own Beauty Insider message boards, they haven’t yet made it into your stores. That can—and should—change.

Here’s one idea about how to do it:

Bring Sephora’s online praise into the store.

When Amazon opened its first slate of physical bookstores, it used its online prowess to inform its offline buildout. One of the biggest evolutions was using customer reviews to curate the in-store selection, including tables featuring “Highly Rated” books and “Top Sellers.” Using data to inform its buying and merchandising, Amazon put products in front of shoppers that were more likely to sell.

But Amazon didn’t stop at the back end. It also created cards in front of almost every book that feature a customer review, giving the shopper a more intimate understanding of why she should buy the book.

Your shoppers produce an immense amount of compelling user-generated content about your stores and the products in them for free, handing Sephora a massive opportunity for utilizing this content in-store. Featuring both user-generated text and images alongside your products could give a shopper a better sense of how products look and work, and, most importantly, why they are worth purchasing.

Connecting shoppers with your incredibly adept sales associates, in addition to crowdsourced reviews, will only supplement Sephora’s sales. Think about how sporting arenas feature tweets and images from fans during lulls in action on the field, or how Glossier features product testimonials from its ambassadors on their custom pages.

While Amazon does this in a manual way, printing individual cards, you could install small tablets or screens that produce much more dynamic testimonials, especially around customer images and videos. Maybe, down the road, there could be an affiliate program for which  content creators are rewarded when they help drive a sale. The options are limitless.

This is just one idea among many others that could put Sephora in a league of its own when it comes to bridging the gap between online and offline. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and CEO
Loose Threads