OPERATIONS

Sephora makes over website, integrates Pinterest, and adds iOS devices chainwide

BY Marianne Wilson

San Francisco — Sephora on Monday unveiled its social and mobile makeover, which includes a new personalized web experience, new mobile website, iPhone app and iOS devices in over 100 stores.

The chain also announced that, in a test, 20 stores in the United States have been outfitted with iPads to give customers another way to navigate Sephora’s product offerings and interact with a menu of services offered at the Beauty Studio. Sephora is also distributing an iPod Touch to allow sales associates to help clients find and research products through the Sephora app, and allow for faster, mobile checkout.

In addition, Sephora has become one of the first retail brands to fully integrate with Pinterest, adding “Pin It” buttons to every product and brand page.

“With the social, digital, mobile and website updates, we’re giving our clients the most customizable experience in the beauty industry, and connecting clients with our experts in the ways that are most relevant to them,” said Julie Bornstein, senior VP Sephora Direct.

As part of its web makeover, each product on Sephora.com has been tagged and is now indexed with 25 different characteristics – from relevant data like target age group, to specific ingredients, formulations, fragrance, price and more. The makeover also includes 80,000 additional images, product quick-views, more color views and time-saving checkout.

From Sephora.com clients can also check in-store availability for any of Sephora’s over 300 stores, create favorite product lists, learn the latest trends, get personalized advice, watch tutorials from Sephora’s editors, and interact with experts instantly.

The Pinterest “Pin It” button is on every product page, letting users pin any of the 14,000 products from Sephora.com. Fans can also check out Sephora inspiration boards, highlighting current looks and new products.

Sephora’s new feed on Instagram will give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the company and its staff, and what trends and products are driving buzz in the beauty world.

“Some retailers are afraid to allow devices in their stores, but we embrace it,” said Bridget Dolan, VP Interactive Media, Sephora. “We’re bridging the online and offline world, and making it as easy as possible to find the products you want, in a way that’s cool, familiar, and helpful.”

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REAL ESTATE

Uniqlo to open in San Francisco

BY Staff Writer

New York — Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo will open its first store on the West Coast, in a 29,000-sq.-ft. space in San Francisco, this fall, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Uniqlo is also looking for locations in Los Angeles and other California cities, according to the report. To date, the company has opened three U.S. stores, all in New York City.

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FINANCE

Facebook to buy Instagram for $1 billion

BY Staff Writer

New York — Facebook will purchase the photo-sharing application Instagram for about $1 billion in cash and stock, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday. The deal, which is the social-networking company’s largest acquisition to date, is expected to close later this quarter.

Instagram was named iPhone app of the year in 2011.

Facebook will acquire Instagram’s entire team as part of the deal.

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Zuckerberg said in a blog post. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all.”

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