- Beauty retailer Sephora partnered with Google on voice-enabled makeup tutorials that viewers can watch on the search giant's smart display. The Google Home Hub now has Sephora's entire catalog of beauty how-to videos to watch hands-free, according to a Google blog post.
- Viewers can use verbal commands like "Hey Google, show me foundation tips videos from Sephora" to watch the videos. The smart display also responds to requests to pause, fast-forward or rewind the tutorials for easier following at a vanity table or in the bathroom.
- Sephora is demonstrating the smart display in 10 flagship stores as a "Dream Vanity" experience. Shoppers can buy a Google Home Hub device at Sephora's website or at select locations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and across California.
Sephora's integration with Google's voice-powered smart display is a creative way for both brands to benefit from the popularity of makeup tutorials on YouTube, which has about 1.8 billion viewers worldwide. YouTube handled more than 81 million search requests for how-to related beauty searches last year, per the blog post. The new integration builds upon Sephora's established YouTube channel, which has 1.1 million subscribers, filled with tutorials and product reviews. The videos include hyperlinks to Sephora's website to urge viewers to browse for cosmetics after watching product demonstrations.
For Google, the partnership gives the search giant another way to demonstrate the power of its voice-powered technology, which works on Android devices and Google Home smart speakers and displays. By selling the Home Hub in Sephora stores, the company aims to attract beauty gurus to its devices and drive sales as it vies with Amazon for smart-home device dominance. Ownership of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home may increase to nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers after the holiday season from 32% in August, Adobe Analytics estimated. While it's unclear how Google will monetize its voice platform, given the negative reaction to past tests of audio ads and perceptions that voice ads bias search results, boosting e-commerce through its voice-powered tech appears promising.
The integration with the Google Home Hub comes a year after Sephora created a voice app for Google Assistant, letting users book beauty appointments, listen to podcasts and take quizzes, per Glossy. Sephora last month was among the retailers that started letting shoppers make purchases directly through Google's Shopping Actions service, a unified shopping cart capability integrating Google Assistant, Google Express and the internet giant's search capabilities. Other beauty brands also have created voice-enabled apps for Google devices, such as Estée Lauder, which last year debuted the "Estée Lauder Nighttime Expert" chat experience for Google Home to deliver personalized evening skincare tips for users through a series of questions and answers.