It’s no secret that vloggers dominate the world of YouTube Beauty. Even brands that regularly post makeup tutorials have a fraction of the reach of vloggers. For example, popular brand Sephora has just over 418,000 YouTube subscribers whereas British teen Zoella has over nine million. And brands that do manage to propel their reach beyond that limited scale rely on paid views. For example, just 55% of views for Chanel’s popular videos are organic. And the percentage is smaller for brands with less cache. For example, close to none of Lancôme’s YouTube views are organic according to L2’s Insight Report on Beauty and Hair Care Brands’ YouTube strategies.


Despite the disadvantage of brand channels, Sephora has found a way to get its videos eyeballs and connect them to commerce. In addition to hosting a YouTube page, video tutorials are sprinkled throughout product pages and hosted under a separate Sephora TV tab. The logic is that once consumers are empowered with knowledge, they are more likely to buy. As told to Digiday, most consumers are reluctant to buy a makeup set and brushes unless they feel confident they can create a look at home.


Now the brand’s new retail model – to be launched first in a new San Francisco store – is bringing that concept to the brick and mortar. Consumers will be able to watch videos at the store, consult with a Sephora team member, and share content online if they feel compelled. A screen will also show best-selling product s in real time. The store is designed with educational possibilities in mind: up to 12 consumers can sit down at a time to watch videos and practice with Sephora’s products.


Sephora’s strategy shows that digital works best when integrated into the existing shopping experiences, rather than treated as a separate concept. In the words of CEO Calvin McDonald “It’s not digital for the sake of digital. It’s a combination of products, services, and teachable moments that support our customers’ missions.”

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