Sephora uses iPad app to drive lipstick business

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Sephora is one of a batch of leading-edge companies hoping to capitalize on tablet commerce by building apps with the iPad in mind. While tablets still trail phones when it comes to mobile shopping, iPad users appear more likely to spend. According to an IBM survey conducted last year, iPad users who visited retail websites during the month of December converted their browsing to purchases 6.3% of the time, more than double the 3.1% for users of other mobile devices.

But selling on tablets is fundamentally different from selling on smartphones and requires a carefully thought-out design. Functions such as embedded video and page-swiping instead of scrolling, for example, define tablet navigation.

Tablet shoppers are also more likely to use the device in comfortable surroundings. Bridget Dolan, vice president of interactive media at Sephora, says its app was designed to weave together content and commerce with the expectation that customers would be in a different setting than those using a PC or laptop. "At your computer, you cut to the chase. You're probably at work. On the iPad, you're on the couch or at a coffee shop," she says.

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