November 26, 2011, 3:06 PM

A mobile mirror

Sephora USA Inc.’s iPad app offers a feature impossible to duplicate on a conventional e-commerce site. The consumer activates Sephora’s “mirror” feature, which uses the tablet’s front-facing camera to show the consumer on the screen in one window, while in a window below she can watch a video of an expert applying makeup.

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Sephora USA Inc.’s iPad app offers a feature impossible to duplicate on a conventional e-commerce site. The consumer activates Sephora’s “mirror” feature, which uses the tablet’s front-facing camera to show the consumer on the screen in one window, while in a window below she can watch a video of an expert applying makeup. That lets the shopper watch herself try to mimic the expert’s techniques as she views the video of the expert at work. The app, built by Branding Brand, includes exclusive mobile offers, but it is largely about encouraging shoppers to visit Sephora stores to buy the makeup they’ve been learning to apply. “It’s definitely a sales-driving channel,” says Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct, of the retailer’s mobile apps. “We see mobile devices as a bridge between the web and stores.”

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