Sephora’s user-generated pinboard “Beauty Board” went live today under the Inspire Me tab on the brand site. It features hundreds of selfies tagged with Beauty brands carried by Sephora, and can be filtered by lips, hair, nails, skincare and eyes. Users can log in with their Sephora account (which saves purchase histories) to view just posts of users with similar complexions. They can also view and post on smartphones. Prior to Beauty Board, Instagram was full of posts tagged #sephoraselfie. Now, the cosmetics retailer is using fan content to direct traffic to its site.
Beauty Board’s design and user-centricity resembles Pinterest, but with an additional commercial element. Pinterest has no product-tagging feature, but Beauty Board runs a sidebar of makeup and beauty items used to achieve each look. Tagging is optional, but 87% of Beauty Board posts (during beta testing) were tagged with products and 56% were tagged with four or more.
Pinterest was the visual darling of the digital world in the past two years, valued at $3.8 billion. The online scrapbooking company — often described as user-generated catalogue — promised an opportunity for brands to reach consumers, but ultimately failed. It seems multi-brand retailers such as Sephora are taking matters into their own hands. We can expect to see more such experiments, especially if Beauty Board is successful.