How Segmentify solved Sephora’s Complex Searchandising Needs!

the eCommerce Growth Show
How Segmentify solved Sephora’s Complex Searchandising Needs!

In the newest episode of the eCommerce Growth Show, our host takes on how Sephora was battling to solve its searchandising needs and utilised Segmentify’s unique solutions. In addition, this show covers how Segmentify employs a significant position in helping clients address common eCommerce platform issues and gain the most out of their platform, delivering to relevant KPIs. 

This week’s guest is Sedat Fırat, the eCommerce manager for Sephora in Turkey. Sedat has spent a solid portion of his life in Boston and comes from a well-rounded global market experience of Turkish and US descent. When asked how his professional experience led him to join Sephora, Sedat points to the exciting and dynamic nature of the business, as it is on the road to booming. New brands are constantly launching, and Sephora occupies a unique position as the leader in the market and actuary cosmetics. Sedat joined Sephora in 2018 as the company wanted to launch its eCommerce store.

So, how does this journey cross paths with Segmentify? 

The Issue of Search in the Beauty Sector

Sedat explains that every eCommerce platform and project is unique; this is particularly striking for Sephora, functioning in over 16 countries and present in the online ecosystem. Sephora in Turkey attempted to take on this project with a local partner knowing there would be advantages and disadvantages. While the significant majority of Sephora companies across the globe partner with SFCC, a giant eCommerce partner, Turkish Sephora, decided to go local. This is because they wanted agility, flexibility, and dedication. However, their starting point, especially in search, was not adequate. 

Sedat points to a good analogy here. In fashion, when you are looking for a red dress, the search process works in a relatively straightforward manner. But, in beauty, red lipstick is never simply a red lipstick; it can be named sun red, pomegranate red, the sky’s the limit. This challenge had to be addressed with searchandising, powered by Segmentify. 

Segmentify As A Leading Searchandising Solution

In the beauty sector, trends change overnight and move very quickly. To be the trendsetter, you have to collect data regarding what products are being viewed, what products are being added to the cart, and what products are being added to this wish list. All this data existed under Sephora’s belt, but how to use these insights was unclear. 

Let’s continue on this analogy: “We were talking about red lipstick. It’s more than that. If someone is looking for a product specifically for their needs, if it’s skincare for their skin colour, skin type, we want to make sure that we offer them and show them the best product. And the data is not always in the product description.”

Consider this; skincare is never just one thing. It can help with pimples, and ageing could be a night cream mask; the categories are simply endless. So as categories and data pile up, it is essential to make sense of this data. 

So what did Sephora do? Through Segmentify, they determined their best selling products, best-looking products, and the products that were perhaps missing an opportunity. Sephora has about 16 thousand SKUs, which is difficult to manage manually. These advanced needs to fully handle the platform and optimise search required a sophisticated technology like Segmentify’s. 

Serdar mentions that at Sephora, they are working with countless great brands and gives the example of Too Faced. “Too Faced has fun product names; one of them is called Damn Girl. If someone is looking for Damn Girl on Google or even within site, sometimes it’s hard for them to find a product they’re looking for or come with different products. We know that there’s a fragrance from Tom Ford called F*in Fabulous; there is a curse word before it. It’s an amazing fragrance. But again, all these fashion brands, all these beauty brands, actually use fun words to describe their products with not the notes within the fragrance, not necessarily the colour. So we work specifically with the brands to make sure that the product that they want to push or that they’re best at shows up first.”

These sophisticated needs also apply to high-end luxury brands like Dior, Hermes, and Chanel, which come with very specific requirements within the sites. For example, their products need to be shown in particular categories based on search, and the product listings need to be manipulated. Segmentify’s searchandising solution helps establish all of this. 

Crafting Personalised Searchandising with Sephora

At Sephora, the eCommerce platform needs to be personally crafted for different brands as they outline the other brand spaces. It is important not to cross brands on Sephora; if a customer’s journey starts from a specific brand, they only see the products from that particular brand. On the other hand, when viewing a specific category, the customer gets access to all brands lined up in the product listing while not crossing the requirements of brand spaces. There are no upsell or cross-sell scenarios. Intelligent search allows for this. 

Sedat then dives into the Sephora blog, where every single word within the blog is searchable. “For example, if you’ve purchased something and are looking for a customer service number, you shouldn’t be looking at the customer service number within site. Customer service is on top in the search bar, and something should pop up if you’re looking to return your product.”

Sephora is looking to integrate with Segmentify’s personalised searchandising tool to offer better site functionality and user search experience. Segmentify allows for quick tracking of customer behaviour and preference and product listing tracking through its machine learning engine. Its real-time solution provides a highly accurate and efficient search tool. In addition, it builds up the merchandising element through its search result pages, faceted search pages, merchandising category pages, almost like a search and merges tool. 

For more information and details from Sedat Fırat’s insights, tune into the eCommerce Growth Show!

The Podcast Transcript

Phill from Segmentify: Hello there, guys. And welcome to another episode of The eCommerce Growth Show. And as you know, we’ve now moved to a vlog format, which is great; you get to see the lovely faces of myself and our guests, which is fantastic. And we’re still doing the same kind of things we’ve been doing all along really, around trying to expose as much value to our community as possible from experts from all sorts of different avenues. And so, the third series is, you know, is a vlog series focused on all of our customers. Particularly how they are using Segmentify, how they deployed it and how they went about understanding how to work with us and why they have worked with us and, I’m really excited to introduce you to a guy called Sedat Fırat. 

And Sedat is the e-commerce manager for Sephora in Turkey. And he’s a fantastic guy, Turkish-US from the descent. Lived a long time in Boston. So, you know, great rounded experience from the American market. Now, he started out as working for an enterprise agency called Optaros, you might’ve heard of, they’re a Hybris and SFCC demand where experts a gold partner. So picked up clearly some amazing experience from that world. And, before Sephora, he worked at one of Turkey’s biggest leading fashion brands called Apecchio. So, welcome Sedat!

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Hello! How are you?

Phill from Segmentify: I’m good. How are you? 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Thank you.

Phill from Segmentify: Excellent. Well, I’m really really excited to have you on the show. 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Likewise, apologies. I think I’m kind of down with a cold, so if I’m mumbling apologies for you and the viewers. 

Phill from Segmentify: Hey, not at all. I’m sure you’ll be fine. So Sedat, why don’t we start with a bit of an ice breaker, if you like. We talked earlier, I mean, why beauty, why Sephora, how did your paths cross in that sense? 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: I think that beauty is the most exciting and dynamic business right now. It is on. It is actually booming. Wherever you look you’re seeing a new brand is launching, and Sephora being the leader in the market and actuary cosmetics.

Our paths crossed in 2018 when the Turkish Sephora wanted to open their own eCommerce store. They reached out to me, and I said yes. And our paths crossed. I really like the brand. I always liked it when I was in the States. And since then, it has been a really enjoyable and fun journey for me.

Phill from Segmentify: Amazing. Well, I’m looking forward to hearing a lot more about Sephora as part of this shop, but yeah, that sounds like a great backstory. I mean, so in terms of the overarching theme for today’s vlog, if you’d like, we talked earlier. About what you’ve deployed, particularly in Segmentify, if I would, obviously for Sephora.

And one of the key areas is you mentioned the word searchandising, which in itself for me is something I’d love to know more about in itself. So, in terms of the importance of searchandising for online beauty brands, why don’t you give us your take on what that is? And so on.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: As you know, I think every eCommerce project is different. In 16+ countries, Sephora is present in Europe and websites. In Turkey, we decided to do the project with a local partner.

Phill from Segmentify: Sure.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: We knew that we had advantages, we had disadvantages. In most of the world, Sephora is partnering with SFCC. So, working with a giant e-commerce partner, there are some advantages. But key enough to bend the technology that we have locally. And make the most out of it. We were more agile at some points, but we lacked a couple of things here and there.

And actually, the search was something that we wanted to improve from the get-go. Our experience in the search wasn’t good. And we had a lot to offer as you know in fashion, you’re looking for a red dress, but in beauty, you’re looking for red lipstick, which is called literally hundreds of names. It’s the sun red. It’s the pomegranate red, whatever it is, it’s trying to call the products with a specific name to stand out, but you don’t get the name, or you don’t get the colour for the user to find the product they’re looking for or the products that they might be interested in.

It’s challenging for us to mix and match what we want to tell them and show them. So searchandising was one of the things that we wanted to tackle from day one, and thanks to Segmentify, we did that. 

Phill from Segmentify: That’s amazing. So can you tell me more about, in terms of what you mean by searchandising and particularly, why I’m interested because as you know. You’ve got a lot of experience in this world Segmentify’s Product safe, if you like, kind of started for recommendations, push notifications, email campaigns, and obviously search.

So, in terms of focusing on the search element, what were you looking for in the search side of it? And how did Segmentify kind of meet that need? 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: So, the day that is living, we know that what products are trending and on like any other sites, maybe, in beauty to things change overnight. The trends change very quickly.

And so, being the trendsetter, we have the data of what products are being looked at, what products are being added to the cart and what products are being added to this wish-list. And stuff like that. We have all this really big data that we wanted to utilise. I simplified it in the beginning.

We were talking about red lipstick. It’s more than that. If someone is looking for a product that’s specifically for their needs, if it’s skincare is specifically for their needs, for their skin colour, skin type, whatever it is, we wanted to make sure that we offer them, we show them the best product. And the data is not always in the product description.

It would be easy if, if the data was like, okay, this product is helping you with your pimples. It’s helping you with ageing. It’s helping with your night cream mask; or whatever, there are lots of categories. What we wanted to do in the beginning was more than that. We wanted to have the data. We wanted to show people an answer, give them an answer from a set of things that we’re piling up.

And like I said, Segmentify has helped us do all of that. One thing that they did was, we know that what our best-selling products, what are our best looked at products, and what products were missing an opportunity. That was really really helpful. For example, that every week I’m getting a report saying these products are really good. People are looking at that but not getting them to their card. So definitely, there are challenges for us to push the products that you want to push. And someone is searching for a specific term or specific category; we’re showing them the product that people like her are looking for or end up purchasing.

So that’s definitely something we got way better. And we got great results. And this thing still doing the improvements with Segmentify in terms of searchandising. 

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, that’s a really interesting summary. I mean, there are lots of things that sort of float into my mind. Obviously, you know, you’ve got a lot of SKU’s.

I think you mentioned 16,000 in general. So, you know, the idea of searchandising, that’s not something that can be manually managed. There are just too many SKU’s. So, tell us a bit more about some of the more advanced needs that you had within the searchandising realm that you needed to make sure the platform could handle.

When we were talking about specific brands, for example, I appreciate, we might not be able to mention actual brands and so on. Absolutely fine. But you know what I mean, in terms of some of the deeper needs that you had around that, can you elaborate on that a bit?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Of course. But before that, I just wanted to mention that looking at the picture.

There are fangirls or fanboys who love the brand, love the products, and follow it. Their first destination within site is the brand or the category there. They love it. They want what newness is, but there are actually some other groups out there, and their journey starts with this, outside of Sephora, the search on Google, on some other platforms. 

So, of course with that, when you’re looking at the search that’s generating the traffic, you just need to get them on the side and respond in the best way possible. Meaning when you are doing the searchandising specific things. 

There is an example. I can give this example. We’re working with many great brands. One of them is Too Faced. Too Faced has product names that are actually really fun. And one of them is called Damn Girl. You know, like there are actually very interesting things. If someone is looking for Damn Girl on Google or even within the site, sometimes it’s hard for them to find a product they’re looking for or come with different products. Even at some point, we know that there’s a fragrance from Tom Ford is called F*in Fabulous; there is actually a curse word before it. It’s a fragrance. It’s an amazing fragrance. But again, all these fashion brands, all these beauty brands, actually use fun words to describe their products with not necessarily the notes within the fragrance, not necessarily the colour.

So we work specifically with the brands to make sure that the product that they want to push or that they’re best at shows up first. Also, with high-end product high-end brands in Turkey, we are one of the official e-retailers for luxury brands like Dior, Hermes and Chanel.

So definitely, all these brands and more have specific requirements within the sites. They want to show their products in specific categories based on the search; we have to manipulate how we show things. Not every brand wants to be bundled up together. So definitely, there are requirements that you need to follow, and Segmentify searchandising tool helped us do that also. 

Phill from Segmentify: That is brilliant. So, I know we talked quite a bit about the differences in this world for beauty, where you were enlightening me a little bit in a sense that, you know, clearly I’m not a beauty customer. You know, if you love a particular brand, be it, I don’t know, Benefit or Dior or whatever you are homing in on that because that’s the loyal brand that you follow. Completely makes sense.

And then you were talking about some of the elements around, and you did touch on it. Around, for example, the exclusivity side of things. And I mean, tell us a little bit more about that side of it. Cause I think that’s interesting. And then the key thing is how does Segmentify help you to make sure that’s buttoned-down?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Well, I think the sex appeal for Sephora globally comes from the brand portfolio that we provide actually. In the States, in the European zone or wherever, Sephora makes sure that we bring the brands with a stamp on really amazing products. And so on, as an example, if somebody found that the highlighter, the contour, or whatever, the products that you never knew before, or that you never experienced; Sephora works specifically with these brands, and sometimes we carry them exclusively. So, it is the only destination in Turkey for many beauty customers to purchase these products. So definitely, they come to Sephora. Our job is actually to make sure that we don’t do a shopping shop, but we make sure that all the brand spaces, as an example sephora.com.tr/benefits, or /Dior, /Chanel, or /Givenchy, all these spaces within four brands are impeccably done closely with their teams.

We also do the windows or the products that are going to talk very closely with them. Again, if a specific customer is a fan of that specific brand when they launch it, it’s very easy for them to see the newness. It’s very easy for them to see what’s the best seller. And also, if they have a recommendation for upsell and cross-sell, it’s easy for them to see that you don’t cross brands on Sephora.

If your journey started from a brand, you only see the product from that specific brand. But when you’re on the category, you see all brands lined up together, but also respecting the brand spaces. It’s never upsell/cross-sell scenarios. It’s never mixed up. 

Phill from Segmentify: That makes complete sense. I mean that, to me, it just shouts out the need for, you know, a platform that has that flexibility in terms of the rules and the logic that facilitate that kind of very important business continuity. Because as you said, you know, you can’t afford to get that wrong as a brand. There are rules in place as to why you are like top tier distributors, if you like it, with these fantastic brands.

So it’s a real eye-opener for me to see that Segmentify can really fit the bill and help in that level of critical business need. 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: But as I said, I think there’s still a lot of things we can do at the moment. We have to look into data, what people are searching for.

We also have a Sephora blog. Like, I think every single word, every single within site, whether it’s a blog, whether it’s the product description or anything, can be searchable; therefore we can suggest to people that. For example, if you’ve purchased something and looking for a customer service number, you shouldn’t be looking at the customer service number within the site. Where is it? Where should I call? Customer service on top in the search bar and something should pop up if you’re looking for returning your product. And if you don’t know where to, or how to, you should just type in return, then articles related to it, or the frequently asked question related to the topic that you’re looking for should pop up. These are steps that you definitely want to evolve.

But we are not there yet. We are very excited about what’s coming up, and I know that Segmentify is also adding a lot of future in their searchandising tool. So, together we will provide a much better search functionality and experience to Sephora users in Turkey.

Phill from Segmentify: That is fantastic. I mean, it’s so great to hear that. I mean, There’s a number of things that I was thinking about around because of, again, the large number of SKU’s that you have and the fact that you need to make sure that where. There are, it’s not as simple as saying other red stuff or other best-selling stuff. That’s just not going to wash for the reasons we talked about earlier. And actually, what you’re saying is that there are special names that brands use and so on. It’s critical therefore, isn’t it? That because Segmentify has two engines effectively, as you will know. And one of them is tracking all the customer behaviour in super, super quick time, but also tracking the products as a separate machine learning engine.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Exactly.

Phill from Segmentify: And that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? Because it’s actually exclusive and it says, no, you know, within these constraints, here are two other upsell and alternative products that we’re a) allowed to show you, but b) are very, very accurate at the moment for when that used to it using that search tool, which is really interesting.

I mean, you also mentioned the roadmap. And obviously, it’s fantastic that you’re able to push us and continue driving the roadmap with us. And again, I think this is one of the things you were talking about, you know, working with an agile and a local kind of company that can really sort of work hard with you and the culture fit is incredibly important.

I think you know when we were talking earlier about when you select, you know, somebody to work with, which is really encouraging. Just on that note, I know we mentioned it earlier, but one of the things we are looking to involve in the search side of things, it’s a kind of a merchandising element whereby you’ve started to get your search results pages, faceted search pages, actually merchandising category pages almost like a search and merge type of tool. How important do you think that is in terms of Sephora and the wider sort of remit of what we’re doing on the roadmap?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Well, when you look at the heat maps within site, we always, I mean, that’s probably everybody, we always see that people are hitting the main banners. Suppose they’re coming from the homepage. But now that they’re hitting, the first thing they had in the menu on top, the hamburger menu. And also, when they open it, it’s the filters. So, people are specifically looking for something. It’s all these filtrations. But instead of going, adding steps and steps, as an example, if I’m going to vacation tomorrow, I need a sunscreen that’s SPF 50, tinted because I like it that way. And maybe I want it to be vegan. I’m just making this up—all these three requirements. I should, I don’t have to go like sunblock and this, and this and this, I can type in, I want a product with this, this, this, this, and whatever does the site offers and whatever other products they’re offering, should be specific to your needs. And that’s where we’re trying to go currently. Like I said because we are also working on the attributes pool. There are some things that Segmentify can do, but there are also a lot of things that we can provide. All these products that we carry have a very extensive attribute.

So, we are piling all these attributes and adding new ones on the SKU’s that we carry for giving them more meaning. Then you can cluster them better later. And once you do that, you can show them to the customers with the specific needs or specific products. I like to talk with my phone. I have a relationship with Siri. I always ask her questions. Now I switched to voice mail, but I ask questions, and my questions start with full sentences. It’s never “find red lipstick”. It’s never like these things. I’m always asking. I think these habits, these human habits, that we are that thing right now.

We need to do the same thing within site. For years and years, Amazon, Facebook, and so on have been a huge fan of voice recognition, Siri, Alexa, etc. That’s also going to come up, hopefully within the Sephora world one day. But now we’re trying to make our searchandising or our database smarter. So, we can respond to these needs in the upcoming future. 

Phill from Segmentify: Very interesting. So the voice side of it, that is quite exciting. I mean, so obviously, more and more people are using Siri, using Alexa to live their lives rather than going to the keyboard and typing something in. I’m not there yet, actually myself. I don’t have one. We don’t, as a family. I know lots of our friends do. So how important is it? Do you think for Sephora to be able to handle that kind of long-tail voice search from both a digital marketing perspective and on-site and so on? How does that, do you have any insights around that?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: We do actually. Sephora in Turkey, we are a part of the European zone, and as you know, Sephora is a French company under the Louis Vuitton group. And Sephora headquarters has an amazing team, the digital team. That’s working on innovation and working on what we can do better. And that gets distributed to the countries to have one voice together.

So, it’s definitely in the works that all of these things that today’s customer needs Sephora is trying to adapt. If you look at many business cases globally, you can always see Sephora’s name is one of you know, innovators. If you go to a Sephora store, you can experience all these like virtual artists or face recognition or any tool that’s interesting, barcode reading to get more information about a product, watch videos while you’re in the store, try it virtually on yourself. So you don’t have to try every lipstick on you, all of these things to make the experience better using the digital tech channels, I think is in the core of Sephora for so long.

And as I said, the European teams are working really closely on that to make the best experience for every Sephora user. As you know, we’re trying not to be; it’s not Sephora Turkey, it’s Sephora. The brand is very strong MBR??. We want to do our best to make sure that we do our job in Turkey.

So definitely, many works are being done to make for a more digital within every region. 

Phill from Segmentify: That’s awesome. And I’m really excited that we get to work with you and drive forward search and all this kind of innovation that’s coming out. It’s really exciting. Just going on one last thing, I suppose, in this particular theme; you mentioned it earlier, but I thought it was worth just drilling down on just briefly.

And that was the importance of the data in Trendify, I believe, within our product set, if you like. That has been really useful for you. And one thing we did touch on was that there was certain information that you weren’t getting, but with Trendify, you managed to get that. Can you just tell the guys a bit more about what that was?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: When I was younger, I was waiting for Saturdays to listen to the pop charts. I was like, who is going to be number one this week? It almost feels like that when you get the report. I mean, you can get the report any time you want, when I get the report from my team, and I look at it, and I say, oh, these are the star products.

And these products, even though we have investments behind it, building traffic, we don’t see the conversion that we were supposed to see. Something is wrong. It gives us an insight into maybe something is wrong within the description. Maybe we’re not extending it. For example, maybe it’s an SPF product. It doesn’t mention what number of SPF, or we don’t mention the ML of the product, but we don’t mention it in the description. It is always something. If that’s not that, is it the price? Is it too high for the consumers? So, we go look at the competition or how much the product is priced within other retailers if they carry it. If they don’t carry it, the line of category, what’s the average price, is it that, is it above psychological, you know price points? Things that you can evaluate. And then we can say this week; we need to do this, this, this we are trying to be very agile with the actions that you take with the products.

We’re also trying to be very agile in the promotions that we do. Within Sephora, it’s always fun. And you like to give benefits to our users and not always discounts. It’s the experiences. It’s the products that they wanted to carry. We have an amazing loyalty program. We also rolled out in Turkey that people love.

So definitely, we try to make the most of it. If there are products that we know that are not getting the hits that we want them to get, we will push it. And this data comes from Segmentify’s Trendify panel. So, I do think that in our region, unlike in the States, people use their carts as wish-list.

Like I’m going to add these to my cart, and I’m going to never buy them, or I’ll buy them if there is a discount or if something happens. After the payday, there’s always something, but the visitors use the carts as a wish-list. So, we can also track Trendify. What are the most popular products that are being added to the cart?

So maybe we can say, should we send them an email, or should we do something else? But because these products are ranking up, so what actions should we take? Closer with the e-CRM internally. We are very close with marketing, so after a little brainstorming, we take actions for these products, and we try to make the most of it.

Phill from Segmentify: Absolutely. No, that’s brilliant. I have a quick question for you. I haven’t looked at the site, but do you already have a… I can’t remember what you call it, but your comment about the basket being used as the wish-list, I completely resonate with that. I do it myself actually with obviously different stuff.

But I know certain brands almost have a customer login kind of personalised page. Do you do that as well? 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: We believe in personalisation a lot, but we have somewhat of a personalised page. But we are also not there yet with the personal offers also that’s one side effect of not being on the global solution.

Like I said, being in working with the local solution, we have pros and cons. We are getting better with the CRM integration and so on. To offer a personalised, thanks to the users, but it’s a 360 right now. It’s not personalised, but that’s definitely where we want to go eventually.

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, no, it makes complete sense. Cause I just thought clearly Sephora is a very, very strong brand, you know, it’s very much to do with a brand, and you’re not just selling stuff for sure. And I was just thinking of Liberty of London, for example. You know, because I used to work in another merchandising kind of company, and they were their client.

And I just remember that they had this kind of, and they were, they ended up on SFCC as well, but they had a, like you say, a personalised page, but as you say, it’s all on the roadmap, if you like. So, I mean that for me has been really, really insightful in terms of our sort of searchandising exploration around what you were looking for, some of the real kind of complications actually around the brand and how a Segmentify kind of fit those needs, which is just fantastic to hear. 

Just going into a sort of a slightly broader question; I’m already interested. Obviously you’re based in Turkey now. Lots of experience from multiple countries and markets and so on. What does e-commerce look like in Turkey, in general?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: The only word I can say it’s booming. 

Phill from Segmentify: Really? Wow.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Yeah. It’s insanely booming. I think e-commerce in Turkey is has been on the uprise for so long.

And with this pandemic, I think we probably had the digital transformation of seven years in seven weeks; as they say, it definitely applies to Turkey. We are a little bit behind the well-developed countries with the share that e-commerce takes from retail. Personalised eCommerce takes from retail.

But I believe that it will be changed when we see the numbers for 2020 because it’s actually become a really huge playground in Turkey. International investors are very interested in so many big companies. And also, as you mentioned, I’m coming from the United States, where convenience is the number one driver for people to purchase things. In Turkey, it was for so long not convenience but value. So, there are a lot of private sales besides the marketplaces and so on. Now, it’s changing because people don’t want to waste their time. Now they’re afraid to go to the shopping malls maybe. There’s definitely a digital help for them to get the products that they want or the experience that they want to experience.

And we definitely want to be a part of that, but the scenery for e-commerce in Turkey is really, really amazing. I do think that it’s going to places.

Phill from Segmentify: That’s so exciting, isn’t it? You’re right in the heart with a fantastic brand, right in the middle of a booming e-commerce landscape. Fantastic. So just on that note, what do you think the future of e-commerce looks like?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Not only in Turkey, I think in general e-commerce is for me personalisation. Every skin colour is different. Every fingerprint is different, so definitely, the journey needs to be customised for the person.

My reason even, and I am Sedat 41-year-old male. I am going to sephora.com.tr. My reason changes every other time. My today’s aim is I’m looking for a day cream. Tomorrow’s aim, I’m looking for a gift for my friend. Or I’m just going to the beach, and I need some sunscreen. All those things are the journey of this person is always different.

Suppose you show the same homepage to different people. One of them is a 16-year-old girl that’s looking for fun—more interesting brands. One of them is interested in sustainable vegan brands. One of them is interested in the high end, very expensive reams.

All of these people have different experiences. I don’t think you can welcome them anymore with the same experience or the page or the banners or the products or the upsell process. So, I think we do believe that creating, not in the traditional sense clusters, but I think creating personas, that’s going to make sense in the long run and making pools and start filling them up with people who are most likely has the same pattern as buying things together. And I think that, but you can customise the journey so you can customise experiences and definitely you cannot do that alone. You need a partner who’s investing in personalisation. I think that’s definitely going to be the future, but I open up the page I do want; it’s sometimes fun. Some people actually sometimes go; some sites go above and beyond. They’re like, oh, you’re coming to this site from Istanbul. Here’s the weather for Istanbul. I know, but maybe not to that extent, but personalisation is something that is going to be the future. It’s not I think first, in the true sense of personalisation, will be the future of e-commerce.

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I completely agree. I mean, not because I just work at Segmentify, obviously. But what I was going to say, actually, some of the interesting things you mentioned that were serving up more accurate experiences, I suppose, on the web pages for different segments or clusters of people, as you say, bargain hunters versus VIPs versus young guys versus old, whatever.

And this is one of the reasons why we are building integration with Styla. Because Styla basically gives an e-commerce team a very speedy way of creating multiple content pages for different segments of users. So, we’re kind of pushing the boundaries of that integration by doing exactly as you’ve just said, you know, there’s one level saying here’s a VIP user coming to your website, you need your personalisation engine within the search widgets or the on-site recommendations or whatever, to be highly relevant to that particular person at that moment. But what if you could go to the next step and say, not only are you providing the correct and very accurate alternative, or you know appropriate products for that user, but also the entire page is geared around that segment user. So, for example, the VIP goes to the new in page, and not only are the recommendations, and the category pages are spot on, but also the content around it. And the whole page is geared towards that user. But then if you have a, for argument’s sake, a discount shopper, going to the same new-in page, then the entire content of that page is entirely different and geared towards that particular user instead with probably a slightly different set of recommendations and search results or whatever it might be.

Because, of course, they’re looking for more cost-effective products than the VIP. So that’s interesting; you mentioned that sort of next level of personalisation amongst other things. So, it sounds like it could be quite interesting to see how that integration helps brands like Sephora and where brand experience is so important.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Yeah, it is important, but I think also the data is as important as this. Like, you know, understanding customers’ omni-channel behaviour, how much they spend online, and how much they spend offline. Clustering is actually segmenting all these users is definitely a challenge, and there is not only a couple of layers. There are so many layers that need to be thought off. And that’s something that is going to bring a joyful, personalised experience to the end-user and a huge conversion to the brand. So definitely, like I said, first data, then the right partner, then actually understanding the customer and customising all these steps for them, because I think that is the recipe for success, to be honest.

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, a hundred per cent. And it’s interesting you say because the first client that we’re testing the integration with is exactly, as you just said, it’s dead without the right data and the right segmentation. So actually, we’re working with, and this is quite exciting, I find, we’re working with one of our competitors, right?

The iClothing has four segmentations. But we aren’t scared of that, you know, we want to embrace this market and create the best solution for the client. And so, we’re saying, well, that’s great. You’ve got this segmentation, which this competitor has brilliantly done.

And you’ve got your VIP’s, you’ve got your discount shoppers. You’ve got your laps. You’ve got your XYZ and all these other clusters you were talking about; why don’t you bring them in. Via XML or over API, or even manual upload on some kind of pulling system, flat-file type situation. Get the data into Segmentify and then use that data to drive those segments, to then drive the correct page and recommendations to that user set.

So, absolutely bang on, in terms of, I think, needing that internal solution from the data end. Still, the great thing about Segmentify, I suppose in that sense, is the ability to have that level of customisation that can say, you know what? Yeah. Bring it on. We’ll bring in the segments from that competitor. We’ll do the work, you know, and then make it work for the client. 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: And also, we don’t work with Segmentify for personalisation yet. We never know what might happen in the future. But the other thing that I see the benefit for the tool so far; my experience with Segmentify, Trendify, searchandising. All of these are, as you know, the digital talent is shrinking. Suppose you compare it to the companies in need of digitalisation. So, meaning that you’re not, everybody’s working with huge teams. Some of the teams are small, and they’re juggling many balls at the same time, so when your tool is strong, it gives you the flexibility to do things very quickly, reports very quickly. And you have local support, a third party, like Segmentify. That’s a really good benefit for companies like us. Just because we can move things very fast, that’s definitely something that we also value. Otherwise, you know, if you’re doing all these scenarios by yourself, you need to dedicate a person.

Now that person needs to get the reports, and then the other person needs to evaluate the report, etc. So yeah, it’s a chain of, you know, an unbroken chain that’s never going to work. So, with a team that’s already very effective, how to make the most of their experience within these tools that they’re using. And I think Segmentify provides marvellous back office and support on that. 

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, absolutely. And as you know, it’s one of our key values is that customer success team, that managed services team that have those, you know, monthly or weekly reviews with our clients and drive the best practice and optimisation and are an extension of your team.

And I see that time and time again was so many episodes here. Where it’s been critical, I found it’s all really battened down with technology, serving the client, putting it in absolute pole position every time. And then the third thing I think is transparency and culture.

And I think those three pillars have been absolutely phenomenal to help, genuinely help the e-commerce community. And in terms of transparency, we found that by not holding them to ransom in terms of, you know, long contracts for billing you know, price changes every time you turn your head, or there’s a cost of this consultancy or this setup or that all of that’s off the table, it’s all just completely transparent, monthly rolling.

You know, we have to work really hard to continue driving those games because of that transparency. And I think that’s a fantastic way to do business because you can’t get complacent at the end of the day. So, I’m really glad that you’re saying those things, and it’s working. Fantastic feedback.

But I mean that for me was brilliant, really, really insightful and interesting. Thank you so much, Sedat, for that.

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: I feel lucky that I love digital. I eat, sleep and breathe in digital. It is definitely for people who are out there that might be watching this, and they’re not in the business. And they aspire to be any competition or this business. I just, I do recommend that. This is definitely one of the most dynamic, most fun, most enjoyable fields that you can be in right now. And jump on the wagon at the right time. Because of so many companies, especially after the pandemic, I don’t think our growth will be the same ever; it’s changed.

The habits are changing. It’s changed in a way that, people, you know, we had that ROPO effect before research online, purchase offline and vice-versa. Now it’s becoming a lot more research online, purchasing online, if not research online, purchase offline, but definitely, the digital is to be in the heart of every transaction from this point on. It’s getting more and more important.

So whoever is out there that wants to be in this business, I strongly recommend it. And always find a team that you feel like, you know, I was lucky to have an amazing team. I was like to work with companies like yourself that provided excellent service. If you have mined out these things, it’s definitely a very enjoyable journey in this. 

Phill from Segmentify: A hundred per cent completely agree. It has been an experience. I was just talking to one of my partners yesterday. And just saying how blessed we are to be in e-commerce right now; actually, you know. And I appreciate some verticals have seen a drop in demand, temporarily, I believe. But obviously, others have gone through the roof, and there’s been an accelerated shift to really get proper in the digital e-commerce space.

So yeah, I mean, I just feel that it is such a blessing to be in this sector. I am very; I’m sure we are both very grateful to be in that space, you know. So just to sort of finish off a couple of things very quickly, if anyone wants to get in touch with you, I’m talking sort of best practice or Sephora as a brand or want to get in touch and connect with you for any reasons at all. What’s the best way that the guys can get a hold of you?

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: I have to say, isn’t that easy? The best way is because Sephora has, I told you so far, has that sex appeal that so many companies want to work with, but I think the best way would be LinkedIn. Definitely, it’s not by myself. There’s a huge team in there.

As you know, we cannot do this alone. So definitely all the directors in Sephora and all these managers or executives within the company. If they have a product or any ideas that can be beneficial to Sephora Turkey specifically, they can find me on LinkedIn, or they can find anybody within the Sephora team. I’m sure we will respond. 

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah. That’s a great idea. Actually, again, getting some feedback from people out there. And then one last thing I’d love to ask on my thought leaders is just to delve into your life experience, your 40 plus years on this planet. And give us one nugget, whether it’s personal about your passions, about life, or about e-commerce or Sephora or fashion or beauty?

Give the guys one sort of golden nugget to go away with, to remember you by!

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: Well, I just said it. I think it’s definitely with Sephora one thing that I value is. We are actually in the process of making people feel better about themselves. Me including. It’s feeling good about yourself, valuing, you know, what is important to you.

Definitely, that should be your foundation. Once you have that foundation, once you have your ambitions in the right place, and when you have your tools, you know, you are unbeatable. And again, digital is such a fun environment. There are not a lot of egos like any other, you know, people want to do things. They want to create things. They are excited for things like this site is up. I’m excited, now what’s next. We should make a mobile application; this mobile application is made. What should we do next? Add voice recognition. Like there’s always next steps in mind. I do enjoy being in digital. For people who would, you know, take from this experience one thing I would say: be true to yourself, go for what you believe in and please make sure to keep good people around you personally and professionally. Once your surrounding is strong, you’re stronger. So that’s definitely one thing I can suggest to people. 

Phill from Segmentify: A hundred per cent. And it’s interesting, cause a lot of that stuff; if anyone watching is thinking about what’s that saying and thinking, how do I get that? So how do I learn my ambitions? Or how do I, you know, get those foundations in shape? Do check out some of the other episodes because there’s a few life coaching and personal development that might actually help you do that.

But honestly, so that’s been a great chat. I really, really enjoyed it. And everyone watching, I hope you’ve enjoyed the insights that have been given us today. It just remains for me to say, if you haven’t already, please do pop over to The eCommerce Growth Show webpage, which is segmentify.com/ecommerce-growth-show

And so, you can get everything there—previous episodes of the podcast and also all the vlogs and so on as well. If you want to leave any reviews or give us any feedback, please do so. Or if you’ve got any particular topics you want us to go over; please email me anytime at phill@segmentify.com

But thank you once again, Sedat. 

Sedat Fırat from Sephora: You’re very welcome. This was very fun. Thank you.

Phill from Segmentify: Yeah, me too. Have fun too. And we look forward to seeing you all again soon.


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