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Sephora’s business model is based on a try-before-you-buy strategy, but when a woman shops the cosmetic retailer, she may not know enough about the products she is trying. Therefore, Bazaarvoice’s MobileVoice application allows customers to view and post reviews of Sephora products from their phones. Women can call, text, and e-mail their friends to obtain their opinions.

Bazaarvoice makes it possible for companies to manage customer reviews. Reviews on m.sephora.com can be sorted by category, brand, or top-rated products. Dell and Overstock.com similarly have adopted the Bazaarvoice service.

Customers enjoy researching products before they make a purchase, and eight of ten consumers read reviews of a product to advance their decision-making process. Of these, 60 percent research the products online before making a purchase.

Yet some companies remain reluctant to allow customers to add reviews, for fear of negative responses. Negative and positive feedback provide more credibility to the reviews though, which makes the positive reviews seem authentic. If all reviews on a site were positive, customers might not believe that what they were reading was true.

Such feedback is helpful for consumers as well as for the manufacturers, which could use the reviews to gain valuable information about what customers think about their products.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Would you use the Sephora mobile application?

Fiona Soltes, “Beauty Call,” Stores, April 2009.