A variety of beauty products, brushes and a make-up bag spread out on a marble countertop

Sephora Launches Same-Day Unlimited Shipping Subscription

The beauty brand’s latest foray into the subscription world

Sephora is dipping their toe back into the subscription world, this time, taking on same-day shipping. Shoppers in eligible zip codes can get their beauty products from the popular beauty brand in as little as two hours, every time they shop. The Same-Day Unlimited Shipping subscription starts with a free 30-day trial. After that, the subscription costs shoppers $49 per year. Users not located in eligible zip codes for same-day shipping are still able to get free shipping on all purchases if they are a member of Sephora’s rewards program, Beauty Insider.

“The subscription that delivers your beauty in as little as two hours – every time you shop,” Sephora says on their new subscription page.

Sephora depicts the 3 steps in ordering with their Same-Day Unlimited subscription: sign up, receive notification that order is on its way, and get confirmation products have been delivered
Source: Sephora

This is not Sephora’s first foray into shipping subscriptions. They first tested the subscription business model with FLASH Shipping, which cost Sephora shoppers $15 a year in exchange for free shipping with no minimum purchase. However, this option is no longer available to new subscribers, and is no longer eligible for autorenewal. Like Sephora’s same-day unlimited shipping subscription, there was no order minimum. The beauty brand shuttered this option earlier this year when they moved to giving Sephora Beauty Insiders free shipping on all orders, along with auto-replenishment on repeat purchases.

Sephora started utilizing same-day shipping in 2020 with Instacart, letting shoppers take care of beauty emergencies, even during the pandemic. Same-day shipping at a one-time purchase level sets a customer back $6.95, leaving the same-day shipping subscription to pay for itself with fewer than 10 purchases.

Looking at convenience as a factor, Sephora conducted a survey of shoppers in June, and 63% of their shoppers said they would utilize same-day shipping if they ran out of a product and needed immediate replacement, Retail Dive shared. Ninety percent of their customers who have utilized the same-day feature would use it again, Sephora divulged.

“It’s critical that we’re always evolving and that we’re innovative in what we’re delivering for clients. Convenience is top of mind, and it’s the number one thing they ask for,” said Nadine Graham of Sephora in an exclusive interview with WWD.

Why a same-day unlimited shipping subscription? According to Graham, Sephora’s goals are to attract new customers while servicing their existing customers.

“For us, attracting new clients is a goal, it’s always a goal,” Graham said. “We want to bring more clients into the Sephora ecosystem. We know that same-day unlimited is going to do that, but we also think it’s a huge benefit for our existing beauty community.”

Insider Take

Despite subscription fatigue, companies continue to test and adapt the subscription model to attract and retain customers. This same-day unlimited shipping subscription is particularly interesting though. While it seems like this would be ideal for a small subset of customers, are there really “I’m-out-of-my-favorite-lip-gloss” emergencies that require immediate delivery? Maybe so, but with supply chain issues and the rising costs of shipping, it seems that this particular subscription may be a loss leader, similar to Taco Bell’s Taco Lover’s Pass. Get them in the door and encourage them to buy other products to make up for what they are losing in shipping costs and associated labor.

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