Bridging the Digital and Physical World with Emma Zhai

Bridging the Digital and Physical World with Emma Zhai

New Platforms, New Unknowns

I joined Sephora in September 2019, responsible for Sephora’s core social media channels. Live streaming back then was a trending topic but we weren’t sure how to best adopt it nor what success would look like for us. 

When COVID-19 hit us, it was crucial for us to find ways to connect with our customers and to continue to engage them. With little to no physical contact, live streaming was the no brainer. We immediately did our research on all how other beauty brands were leveraging live streaming. After multiple rounds of trial and error and learning from our mistakes, we came up with a structured live streaming process and program for our stores.

Thinking out of the Box

Our goal was to leverage our digital platforms to help increase physical store traffic. One way of doing this was through seamlessly fusing both online and offline channels into one amazing shopping experience, something we had been constantly finding new and better ways to do. We’ve coined it as the ‘OmniTude’ mindset and it’s the idea that we’ll do whatever we can to delight our consumer wherever he or she shops.

A ‘Eureka’ Moment

We launched our first live streaming trial in our Shanghai stores but initial results were disappointing; however, we kept challenging ourselves. We continuously watched every comment and studied the data behind our live streaming effort. I noticed that our online consumers were constantly asking where they could buy the products they are interested. As such, we changed our strategy and got our store Beauty Advisors to interact with online consumers and ultimately increase both in-store traffic and sales conversion. This was an unprecedented way of exploring new ways to drive business, and this effort was well recognized by the industry in which we’ve won various advertising and marketing awards.

Always challenge the status quo, embrace change with a more open-minded heart, and have cross-functional teams to closely work together is the biggest learning I’ve had since the epidemic. Never stop exploring!

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