Sephora's new subscription service comes with mobile offers

Sephora has launched a new subscription service that sends a box of beauty products to subscribers each month. The program is similar to the popular Birchbox, but with a mobile twist: Sephora's comes with a custom Spotify music playlist and scannable codes for mobile users.  

Subscribers to Play! by Sephora will pay $10 per month for a box of beauty product samples. Each box will also include a Spotify music playlist and a Play! Book filled with beauty tips, how-to's and scannable codes, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. A subscriber can scan a product included in their box to order a larger size or access additional information.

Sephora will also use the program to drive store traffic, something many of the online subscription services can't do. Birchbox may be heralded as one of the great new retail-related business concepts in recent years—and for good reason, the company has gotten more than $172 million in funding and posts $170 million annually—but it has just a single store in Manhattan with plans to open a second location in 2016.

In contrast, Sephora has 1,900 stores globally. Handing out beauty samples has long been a staple of Sephora's business and the retailer sells smaller travel sized items in the checkout line. Sampling drives purchases in the beauty category and the success of subscription services in the category has been no different. Birchbox customers spend 38 percent more on products after receiving their boxes and some of that spending spills over to other retailers, including Sephora, as Birchbox subscribers searched for and bought full-sized items from brands they sampled.

The subscription service was born of the company's innovation lab in San Francisco. "Our digital innovations have always been developed with the client in mind—what will be useful and helpful to her, as opposed to trying a bunch of technologies to be buzzy and interesting," Bridget Dolan, VP of Sephora's innovation lab, told Fast Company.

For more:
-See this Fast Company article
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily story

Related news:
Birchbox continues physical store pilot
Birchbox members boost sales of other beauty retailers
Cratejoy launches marketplace for subscription boxes
Birchbox uses brick-and-mortar to learn about online shoppers
Birchbox to open its first retail store in Manhattan