"Focus Trends" is a Retail Strategies monthly article, highlighting trends in specific categories of retail.
Full Experience Cosmetics:
In-Store and Online
Health and Beauty stores are changing their store concepts to keep up with customers’ demands. According to Yahoo! Beauty, Millennials are shopping at physical retail stores as opposed to online for cosmetic supplies. Millennials prefer to have the “full experience” of trying on makeup before making a purchase. Brick and Mortar stores, such as Ulta and Sephora, have capitalized on this by establishing “trial stations”, which allow customers to try on various products before purchasing. According to a TABS Survey, Ulta experienced a 41 percent increase in regular buyer purchases compared to the previous year. Sephora reported a 25% increase in buyer penetration and a 32% increase in regular buyer purchases over 2014. The report also found that people are spending more at these stores per visit. Consumers want to “try before they buy” and retailers are listening, as more are offering samples and bringing products out on shelves versus behind counters.
Consumers want to “try before they buy” and retailers are listening.
Online retailers are also capitalizing on the “full experience”, which allowing customers to try on beauty products before finalizing a purchase. Not only are Brick and Mortar stores experiencing success with their “trial stations”, we are also seeing subscription box retailers capitalizing on trial opportunities. Online subscription box services allow customers to receive beauty products, in most instances, monthly or bi-monthly and choose which beauty products they would like to have delivered to their doorstep. Subscription service companies such as Birchbox, Ipsy’s Glam Bag, Memebox, and Scentbird, allow the customer to try on their beauty products and keep it or return it if not pleased with how it looks. In most instances, customers only pay for what they keep. Some of the subscription services also have personal beauty stylists on staff that are able to pick out beauty products that best fits the customer’s needs and wants. This service still provides the experience factor that allows the customer to “try on” products in the comfort of their own home.
Subscription services allow customers to “try on” products in the comfort of their own home.
“Big-box” stores are taking notice of this service. Target has started their own Beauty Trial Box Service that consists of 10 trial products per month, and Nordstrom has started a “concierge service” where customers can shop online for beauty products and speak directly with Beauty Stylists and Advisors. Nordstrom customers can even choose three free samples with their purchases online.
Macy’s is another retail giant that is currently expanding their beauty supply line. Macy’s acquired Bluemercury for $200 Million in March of 2015 and currently plans to expand Bluemercury with 42 new store locations in 2016. The newest store, and first since the acquisition, opened last month in Cincinnati, OH within the Kenwood Towne Centre. Before becoming a subsidiary of Macy’s, Bluemercury operated 60 specialty stores in 18 states and also operated an online business. The chain features in-house spas and carries high-end beauty and health brands, as well as M-61, a proprietary skincare brand. It also carries brands such as Estee Lauder’s Ultimate Diamond line, Caudalie, Ren and Mario Badescu with the intention to compete with stores such as Ulta and Sephora.
Macy’s is not the only retailer expanding with a new beauty store concept. JC Penney and Sephora have teamed up as well by placing Sephora stores within JC Penney locations. This is an effort to help boost JC Penney’s overall store performance. Last month during a quarterly meeting with investors, JC Penney’s CEO Marvin Ellison stated that there will be less emphasis on apparel and more emphasis on home appliances, home décor and health and beauty products. Sephora placed among the top performing categories in JC Penny’s 2016 Q1 Performance Report. With Sephora generating foot traffic and sales in JC Penney stores, Ellison announced that the company plans to have 30 Sephora openings for Mid-June, 2016 in addition to the 28 Sephora stores that opened in April, 2106.
Retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Target and Wal-Mart, are considered to be leaders in selling general health care products; however, Amazon is slated to become the 2nd highest ranked in health care products. Items such as general pain relief medicine, band aids, feminine care, and allergy medicine, among many other health related products, can be purchased on Amazon. While shopping on Amazon, a customer can save time and money by not having to visit their local general or drug store. The customer is able to receive their package at their doorstep usually within 1 – 2 business days, with an Amazon Prime subscription. Customers are willing to pay for convenience and Amazon continues to capitalize on this opportunity. Cowen Group Analysts stated, “We are encouraged by Amazon’s growing footprint in this category, which we see as ripe for potential disruption, given younger demos increasingly purchasing grocery items via digital channels.” Although consumers are able to purchase general health products and medications, Amazon is pushing for federal regulations that will allow the online retail giant to fill, sell, and deliver prescription drugs to customer’s doors. Consumers should be on the lookout for Amazon to continue to shake up the idea of traditional shopping.
Yahoo! Beauty "The Way We Buy Beauty Now" May 26, 2016 [link] Investors.com "Amazon Looks Primed To Disrupt Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens" Brian Deagon, May 20,2016[link] Cincinnati.com "Macy's debuts Bluemercury at Kenwood"Cincinnati," Alexander Coolidge, May 17, 2016 [link] The Street "J.C. Penney Company (JCP) Earnings Report: Q! 2016 Conference Call Transcript" May 13, 2016 [link]
Health and Beauty expansion
|Retailer||Planned Expansion||Area (sq/ft)|
|Sephora||60||(JC Penney – in store)|
|Bath & Body Works||34||2,500-3,000|
|(Alain Mikli; ILORI; LensCrafters; Oakley; Oliver Peoples; Optical Shop of Aspen; Pearle Vision; Sears Optical; Sunglass Hut/Sunglass Icon; and Target Optical)|
|National Vision Stores||30||1,000-4,000|
|(America’s Best Eyeglasses & contact Lenses; Eyeglass World; Optical Center; The Optical Shoppe; The Vision Center; and Vista Optical)|