Sephora Gets Social

Continuing their world domination over our hearts and wallets, Sephora recently launched a social shopping platform, Beauty Board, that uses a Pinterest-like format with consumer-generated photos that customers can directly shop from.

It’s a stroke of marketing genius and combines our favorite aspects of Pinterest-type sharing and Instagram-type selfies that allow you to see how the cosmetics look in real life.

“We took what we admire as social users to the next level by developing and integrating our newest social site, Beauty Board, into our experience,” said Julie Bornstein, EVP, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer in Sephora in a press release.

We’re already fans of beauty brands that use more lifestyle images to sell products than a stock photo of a lipstick like Style Nanda, so what are the real advantages to this new rollout?

Streamlines Social

Besides providing a continuous stream of inspiring looks, the Beauty Board integrates everything beauty junkies want in one place. You scroll through products, looks and reviews and it’s accessible on mobile, so you can share and save all your “liked” looks via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ and even buy them directly on your phone. It’s truly a beauty lover and procrastinator’s dream come true.

Power of the Keyword

Most e-retailers use keywords or product categories to search by, but Sephora takes it one-step further that allows you to filter the site through tags and trends. Are you curious about the difference between a CC and a BB cream or looking for bridesmaid makeup that will last through the day? With just a quick search, it delivers an array of products and – most importantly – with tips on how to use them.

Everyone’s A Beauty Blogger

Many of us passively enjoy our beauty-hoarding and experimental use of cosmetics, but this platform actively encourages a community to swap, share and review looks and products. After all, what can a swatch of color tell you about how a lipstick and eye shadow will actually look on? Upload your looks and get real-time feedback on whether that bold, red lip is chic or clownish.

Sephora continues to give its competitors (Ulta, department stores, Amazon’s Luxury Beauty) a run for their money. They took the intimidation out of buying cosmetics, perfume and skincare and train their sales people to be knowledgeable without being pushy. We all know to avoid walking through the gauntlet that is a department store perfume aisle. Designed like a sleek nightclub with testers at every turn, Sephora is like a giant, beautifully designed test-kitchen for beauty lovers to experiment.

With Amazon trying to break into the makeup game with the launch of their Amazon Luxury Beauty last year, they have a wealth of reviews and ease of shipping to rely on, but are also heavily committed to the Amazon “aesthetic,” which is not very pretty to look at. While Sephora continues to step-up its game, we’re hoping we can expect its competitors to follow suit in designing a customer-focused, aspirational and easy way to shop. ASOS already offers a great runway feature that allows you to get a 360-degree view of the clothes, now it’s time for them to do the same with cosmetics.