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User-Generated Storefronts

Friday, May 30th, 2014

When it comes to beauty, it’s not just amateur vloggers beauty brands have to worry about. One of the largest obstacles the ecommerce industry faces is the fact that shoppers can’t touch, feel, or smell products like they do in stores. For this reason, when people do buy beauty products online, it’s usually to replenish their existing stock of trusted favorites; it is rare that a beauty shopper will experiment with new products when shopping online (AT Kearney).

Sephora has found a unique way to overcome this obstacle with a new section it launched within the Sephora app called “The Beauty Board.” The Beauty Board is, essentially, an innovative storefront that relies on user-generated content to populate inspiring makeup looks and push products. How does it work? Users upload a picture of their latest makeup look that they can stylize with Instagram-like filters, select the products they used to accomplish the look, and submit. The featured beauty products used to create the look in the photo are then highlighted with a prompt to purchase. The format of the storefront is very user-friendly, because the users posts are displayed in a Pinterest-like format.

The way Sephora uses mobile to drive purchase while also integrating a social component allows consumers to seamlessly interact with brands and each other more organically. By tapping in to the power of amateur “endorsements” and a trending consumer habit of uploading pictures and curating user-generated information, Sephora is overcoming ecommerce barriers when it comes to trial and exploration online. We expect to see other retailers follow in the footsteps of Sephora, giving users the opportunity to create and share their own content to drive engagement; trial; repeat traffic; and, ultimately, purchase beauty products online.

Contributed By: Kristen Brelig and Kathryn Truka, Integer Denver

Photo Source: Sephora Beauty Board

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