Dubbed the Beauty Insider Community, the platform is a chat room style forum that offers users the opportunity to share posts and dig out other user views on relevant beauty topics - from identifying serums to getting rid of acne scars.
Spread over 40 boards, the community boasts a growing number of users. It comes as confirmation that brands are still innovating when it comes to working out how best to maximise on the community and engagement potential offered by the internet.
Content and community: how to maximise?
Sephora is not the first player to make this kind of effort when it comes to leveraging digital content: Unilever, major personal care player, became a major sponsor of a women’s blog platform run by Vice, Broadly, in 2015.
L’Oréal is another that has made steps in this area: last year, it launched a completely unbranded content sharing platform called Fab Beauty.
The platform aims to attract key beauty influencers and so generate consumer engagement with beauty more broadly, according to L’Oréal.
"We've always said our job is to launch brands and products, but also to promote and endorse the industry of beauty. It's an industry people relate to, and we are lucky that it's so inspiring and engaging," An Verhulst-Santos, president of the L'Oreal professional products, said at the time.
These efforts all signal an industry looking for ways to present their internet voices as engaging, responsive and authentic.
Indeed, consumers increasingly look for ‘authenticity’ when engaging with cosmetics companies, as market experts have noted.
In a report on the top 10 global consumer trends for 2017, Euromonitor International picked it out as a key area of focus.
The report suggested authenticity is crucial to retailers achieving strong followings in the digital age, and creating brand ambassadors that then propel the word-of-mouth effect both offline and online via social media.