As we noted in March, Sephora, an expert in all things beauty and online, launched its Pinterest-meets-Instagram Beauty Board—and we were curious how it has done for the brand.
The goal is simple: enable customers to share selfies, tag their own beauty looks, and highlight products with an offer to purchase online or at the nearest store.
With social shopping trending, and visual imagery proliferating thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, retailers are tapping into (while trying to change) consumer behavior online from the "shop and click" mindset to an interactive community experience, Beauty Board is engaging shoppers via desktop, tablet and mobile.
“The Beauty Board has increased the number of products people can showcase at one time when trying to recreate a beauty look," said Bridget Dolan, VP Interactive Media at Sephora, to brandchannel.
"Over 55% [of Beauty Board users] are tagging six or more products on every photo uploaded," she added. "Mobile accessibility is also key. Clients have mobile phones at their fingertips and can easily take and share selfies through the application. Over 60% of [Beauty Board] views are on mobile and over 45% of photos are uploaded from mobile devices.”
Powered by Thismoment, Beauty Board provides the tools for discovery, curation, rights clearance and posting to the site.
Dan Kimball, Thismoment CMO, told us why Sephora chose now to jump into UGC. “Customers wanted an outlet to engage with Sephora products directly, as well as publicly share the beauty looks they created on their own.”
"The biggest question Sephora users posed was 'what are all products used to make a particular look,' versus focusing on just one 'hero' product," he added. "In order to do this at scale, Sephora turned to technology provider Thismoment to power the application."
Sephora is on-point with Beauty Board for millennial customers who value peer-to-peer recommendations in purchase and style decisions and the vast majority of them say UGC plays either some or a large role in purchasing decisions, compared to just 70% for Baby Boomers. 64% of younger consumers want companies to provide them with more ways to share their opinions on company-owned channels.
“Eighty four percent of Millennials say UGC plays either some or a large role in purchasing decisions, and as a group, they are three times as likely to turn to social to seek information about which products to buy,” said Kimball. “Technology is making it possible to tame the pipeline of UGC and use it in innovative and engaging manners.”
Sephora, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy, epitomizes a customer-centric brand by combining smart tech, digital savvy and innovation.
"Beauty Board is taking a lot of what consumers at large are doing and making it more practical—a place for consumers to browse for inspiration and discover products to buy at sephora.com,” said Julie Bornstein, CMO and chief digital officer of Sephora Americas, when it launched. "The concept is that pictures are everywhere, and we know that beauty lovers love to see ideas for looks and products to buy."
Sephora integrated with Pinterest (as you can see in Dolan's 2013 Pinterest for Business talk below) and Instagram in 2012 and was an early adopter of a mobile POS system. All of its online communities—Beauty Talk, The Glossy (the brand's content hub), Sephora TV and mobile app Sephora to Go—are integrated into Beauty Board.
As for which brands perform the best, Dolan said, “Anything that visually 'pops' are top-sellers. Eye looks, nail art and gorgeous lips have shown to be most popular on Beauty Board, mostly because these categories are the easiest to show-off and demonstrate unique looks.”
One added bonus: “talented customers with a large existing social follower base are now coming to Beauty Board to showcase their looks, and in turn bringing their followers with them.”
Connect with Sheila on Twitter: @srshayon