Customers use chat more than the other contact channels.
After closing their perfumeries in March 2020, Sephora wanted to replicate that stellar customer experience online.
Customers don’t have to go to physical stores. They can get all the help they need online, wherever they are.
Sephora's consultations helped them increase the average order value by 25% compared to online sales without chat support.
Before talking about how Sephora benefits from using LiveChat, it’s vital to understand how important the customer experience is to Sephora. Consultants at Sephora’s physical stores aren’t all about making sales. More importantly, they provide a unique and professional service tailored to customers’ needs, including detailed interviews and product consulting.
After closing their perfumeries in March 2020, Sephora wanted an online solution to replicate that stellar customer experience to the best of their ability. Even before the pandemic, the company had set their sights on LiveChat. Milena Wojewoda, Digital Project Specialist at Sephora, says:
“We liked the intuitive and easy-to-use interface, as well as the fact that we could give our customers the chance to rate our consultants. More importantly, we can monitor the quality of customer service thanks to advanced analytics.”
Still, it wasn’t until the first lockdown in Poland that Sephora decided to fully implement LiveChat on their website. By doing this, they could recreate the customer experience in a safe, online space.
Sephora’s consultants know their products like the back of their hands. This has helped the business stay in touch with customers and foster sales during subsequent lockdowns. Since January 2020, clients who were maybe on the fence can get advice on products they’re thinking of buying. That includes a service called “Expert Chat,” which involves advice from make-up and skincare experts.
It’s hard to compare a chat to an in-store experience, but the consultants ensure the level of customer care is identical to that in real life. Customers can get advice on products based on skin type, budget, and more.
The pandemic itself didn’t change the company’s approach or how they use the product, but it strengthened their belief that it’s worth having a live chat provider. One of the things that the pandemic changed is consumer behavior. Online sales have been rising for over a decade, and COVID-19 only accelerated this trend, making people shift their budgets from offline to online.
Pandemic aside, the possibility of having a quick chat with consultants that know their way around products is essential and comfortable from a customer perspective. Customers don’t have to go to physical stores. They can get all the help they need online, wherever they are. Milena Wojewoda says:
“The pandemic has set the direction for changes in consumer behavior but, even without the pandemic, an online chat is a way to meet customer expectations and improve the overall shopping experience.”
After implementing LiveChat, Sephora tested different forms of consultations for a few months. They started with teams of six to eight people, with one person dedicated to handling chats and the rest of the team involved with presenting product ideas based on customer needs. Eventually, one-on-one consultations turned out to work best.
When perfumeries opened after the first lockdown, Sephora had one agent assigned to chats during the day for a few days a week. The chats weren’t active every day, and their presence was based on Sephora’s needs day by day rather than on a work schedule.
During the second lockdown in the fall and winter of 2020, Sephora had at least two agents assigned to chats each day. After that second lockdown, Sephora moved back to having one agent assigned to chats each day at the beginning of 2021. They also started doing consultations on Saturdays. When they began using LiveChat, Sephora delegated consultants to chat with people but didn’t create a fixed group of people dedicated to consultations. To give some additional context, Milena Wojewoda said:
“In July 2021, Sephora put together a dedicated team of six agents that took over consultations. Now, there are three or four people managing chats from Monday till Saturday.”
Subsequent lockdowns were the reason why Sephora increased the number of agents available on chats. They could see many more customers on their websites after closing their perfumeries, so they needed more agents to handle chats. With physical stores open again, they can plan their work well, with two to four agents handling chats.
By using chat tags, Sephora knows that a majority of consultations are related to sales. Chats asking for support are a minority. Customers mainly use the chat to get advice on products they want to buy. The company has seen a significant uptick in sales on their website compared to sales before implementing LiveChat and providing online consultations. Milena added:
“Since installing LiveChat on our website in March 2020, sales made thanks to online consultations constitute 1.7% of the company’s profits in the digital channel.”
This proves that the product is crucial to upselling Sephora’s products. Additionally, after Sephora built a team dedicated to handling chats, the average order value increased by 5% compared to when agents were randomly assigned to chats.
Customers appreciate that they can chat with consultants because it’s a quick and easily accessible way to get the advice they need instantly. The feedback Sephora gets is very positive. Their chat satisfaction is at an excellent level, and it’s increasing, especially since they put together a fixed team dedicated to handling chats. Milena Wojewoda concluded:
“We started with customer satisfaction at around 75%, and now, after we put together a dedicated group of agents, we’re at over 90%.”
Consultations during lockdowns helped undecided customers buy products they were considering. With physical stores locked down and with no one to turn to for professional advice, those hesitant customers would most likely postpone their purchase, or they wouldn’t buy anything at all.
While Sephora initially considered LiveChat as a temporary solution to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they now see tremendous potential in online consultations, and they can’t wait for the upcoming financial results.
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