Pretty in Pinterest: Beauty giant Sephora integrates pin-boards

Beauty retailer Sephora has just become one of the first retailers to fully integrate with digital pin-board Pinterest by adding a “Pin It” button to every one of its 14,000 products.

Sephora staffers will also highlight their favorite products on Pinterest pinboards. Following a meteoric rise, Pinterest is now the third most visited social network in the U.S. after Facebook and twitter.

Given that Pinterest’s users are overwhelmingly female and Pinterest has been shown to drive considerably more revenue per click than either Twitter or Facebook, the fact that Sephora has pinned its hopes on Pinterest is perhaps unsurprising.

Sephora’s sleek stores have long functioned as the cathedrals of the beauty product world. The French retailer operates more than 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada (and many more globally) and is something of a trailblazer in integrating technology into its retail experience. Last month VentureBeat reported how the retailer, having noticed the high overlap between its customers and Apple users (70 percent of visits to Sephora’s website are from iPhones) introduced iPads running a custom, in-store Sephora app into 20 stores across the U.S.

The iPad application leverages the iPad’s camera functionality to create a “virtual mirror” that lets users see themselves practicing makeup application as a video of the relevant technique are played below. Shoppers can review their purchase history (to avoid shopping disasters such as buying two of the same lipstick) and product information like ingredient lists. Sephora also invested in iPod touches which can be used for mobile checkout in every store.

Sephora’s website is the world’s biggest beauty store. Mobile shopping grew 300 percent on Sephora in 2011 and the company expects another 100 percent increase this year. iPad traffic was up 400 percent in Q1 2012 compared to Q1 2011.