News Feature | March 18, 2014

Social Media-Savvy Sephora Launches New Beauty Board Platform

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By Anna Rose Welch, Director, Cell & Gene Collaborative
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Sephora Store Front

Company hopes new platform will cater to mobile-savvy consumers’ demands for interactive, inspiring content

Last week, Sephora announced the launch of its new Beauty Board social shopping platform. This new platform enables customers to share photos and browse and shop Sephora’s photo gallery from their mobile phones, apps, and desktops. The new Beauty Board aims to unite Sephora shoppers and build a community around the brand as customers share photos, experiences with products, and tips on how they achieved their look using Sephora products. Similar to Pinterest and Tumblr, the company designed the new social media site to be image heavy, so that customers could easily tag beauty products to their photos. This move will also hopefully improve sales as the tags on Beauty Board link directly to Sephora’s e-commerce site.

Julie Bornstein, CMO and digital officer of Sephora, told Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) that this new platform aims to create a “practical” solution for beauty lovers to discover new looks and products. Bornstein says, “The concept is that pictures are everywhere, and we know that beauty lovers love to see ideas for looks and products to buy. 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”

Considering Sephora’s great success with mobile in the past, the new Beauty Board will, of course, cater to the brand’s mobile-savvy customers. Last fall, Sephora recorded a 150 percent surge in its mobile growth as the company has strived to make the mobile channel “the seamless glue” across the channels. As Johnna Marcus, director of mobile & digital store marketing for Sephora told eMarketer, “Mobile is a tool for in-store. It’s a tool certainly for shopping on the go. It’s a tool for research and consideration.” Now, with the new Beauty Board, customers can connect with other shoppers and gather new tips and ideas to add to their own beauty regimens.

Indeed, this new platform demonstrates the company’s knowledge of its customer base and what they’re seeking in terms of brand engagement. As Marcus told eMarketer, “Sephora fundamentally believes that content should be inspiring and educational, and it has to be even more so if you’re on mobile…We see that a ton of our customers really want things like videos with how-tos. They want Pinterest boards with step-by-steps. There’s really a craving for that content to be curated and brought together…” Exposing customers to “inspiring” content and bringing together the company’s various online communities is exactly what Beauty Board aims to do. According to Fierce Retail, the company’s current online communities, including Beauty Talk, The Glossy, Sephora TV, and its Sephora To Go app will all be integrated into Beauty Board. This integration will also streamline the log-in process for all users, as they will only need one user name and password for all the different social media options. As Bornstein tells WWD, “Social shopping has evolved over the last few years, and we think this is a definite next step toward linking social media and retailing.”

See the podcast: “CRM And The Multichannel Retailer: Part 3: Social Media And The Multichannel CRM Program”