The retailer has assembled 1,000 photos of products and swatches for its new “swipe it, shop it" and "beauty uncomplicator” features that help shoppers browse and buy. For "swipe it, shop it," users are presented with a look, and can swipe left or right to shop it or not. "Beauty uncomplicator" asks users three questions to narrow down their search.
In addition to the Tinder-like approach, Sephora is also running actual swipable, shoppable ads on Tinder, the first beauty brand to do so. Branded cards on Tinder prompt users to click and take a poll for a free sample, according to Ad Week.
Sephora is once again showing off its nimble approach to retail and advertising, with a mobile-focused push for its store brand that leverages the popularity and addictive nature of mobile activities.
The retailer is facing fierce competition in the beauty space, one of the shinning lights in an otherwise dim retail environment. Sephora has long been focused on tech and innovation, investing in the Sephora Innovation Lab in San Francisco and unveiling a new store concept, TIP, short for "teach, inspire, play," in November that features iPads and virtual beauty advice for customers. Earlier this month Sephora added more features to its branded Virtual Artist app, which lets users try on different make up looks, from false eyelashes to 70 million lipstick shades.
While it’s starting things out with a healthy pile of images generated in-house for its latest campaign, Sephora has laid the groundwork to amass user-generated images and integrate them into the campaign.
“We had to start by populating with what assets we have, but in the future, we'll have the opportunity to make this user-generated,” Deborah Yeh, SVP of marketing and brand at Sephora, told Ad Week.
"We're trying to create these really fun, addictive shopping experiences," she also said. "We offer a huge range of products in every category, but we also have the full, 360-[degree] retail and digital experience in addition to that product.”
Indeed, consumers are creating and responding to imagery on social media that has a certain level of authenticity that’s hard for a brand to replicate, says Toni Box, senior director of social media and content at PMX Agency. That represents real competition to the polished presentations by the brands splashed on billboards or in the folds of magazines.
“People can appreciate artistic images coming from brands, especially on Instagram,” Box told Retail Dive earlier this year. “But they definitely appreciate real-time imagery over the staged images that can be stodgy. There's something about that off-the-cuff imagery—it’s authentic, and that’s becoming more important.”