The internet has revolutionized the way firms operate and has led to the emergence of the virtual and click-and-mortar businesses. Some of the common business-to-consumer (B2C) e-business models include the e-shops and e-malls. …
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While maintaining their traditional outlook, some of the firms have adopted the internet for marketing and provision of financial services. With the continued adoption of the e-business, terms like viral marketing, mass customization, and real simple syndications will be common. The expansion of the e-business had had a positive impact on online payment platforms such as Moneybookers and has encouraged the use of electronic check, electronic bill and payment and digital wallet systems. This paper examines the Sephora’s e-business model and in particular its website and other elements associated with the B2C collaborations.
Sephora: brick-and-click model
The Sephora Company is one of the major players in the beauty industry and provides the consumers with trendy and modern products and services. The company’s origin can be traced to the 1960s, and it relies heavily on the self-service model to sell various products. All the customer is required to do is to walk in any of its stores, and try the available offerings at no cost. The company was founded by Dominique Mondonnaud in Sweden but since then, the company has expanded its operations to many foreign countries including the United Kingdom. The company was acquired in 1993 by the Louis Vuitton and currently, the company offers over 200 brands and 13,000 products (Jansen and Mullen, 2008). By offering quality products to the customers, the company has been able to compete effectively with the close competitors. At the same time, the company offers differentiated goods and services which it then at a premium to its customers. According to Schibrowsky, Peltier and Nill (2007) its products are differentiated on the following basis: freedom, experience and guarantee. In this regard, customers have the freedom to choose their preferred products from a wide of range of brands at different prices. They also test the products before they sell them to the targeted consumers. To popularize product offerings, the company has adopted the digital marketing strategy by launching a well-integrated website. The website was launched in 1999 and is used by the customers to purchase different products and services, view feedback and watch make-up tutorials. Through the website, the company is able to conduct promotional activities including rewarding its customers with free samples for each online purchase. The company’s website is particularly important in reaching the chic audience, and has really helped the company to diversify avenues through which it distributes goods and services. The company competes directly with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, but despite the huge competition, the company has managed to maintain market leadership by offering premium products and by selling niche brands. At the same time, by offering a wide range of products and services, the company has been able to increase the consumers’ choice. Moreover, through the company’s website consumers can access information related to their inventory, ratings and reviews. One of the prominent activities conducted at the company’s website is the beauty talk. Customers are able to discuss the suitability of different products and services, and through such forums they are also able to obtain information about various product categories, expert advice and ask beauty questions (Pickett-Baker and Ozaki, 2008). The beauty talks are enhanced by video, which directs the consumers on how to use different products and a lounge where users can share their hauls and beauty confessions. To help the customers in the decision making process, the company’s website features a ‘top 10’ product list. Even more helpful is the ‘
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