Exciting new approaches are changing the face of beauty retailing in the US

Exciting new approaches are changing the face of beauty retailing in the United States

Beauty retailers and marketers in the United Statesare stepping up their game to come up with innovative ideas to draw in more consumers. As suggested by the latest research from Kline’s soon to be published report Beauty Retailing USA 2010: Channel Analysis and Opportunities, marketers are increasingly using alternative distribution channels to supplement their traditional core of retailer partners and marketing efforts.

Among their efforts is luring consumers into stores by providing more and better information on packages and signage, which will help them make more informed purchasing decisions. For example, mass retailer Target is rolling out improved signage in its stores for the major facial treatment brands which clearly indicates to the shopper the differences between sub-brands. As a further example, the signage for Procter & Gamble’s Olay products communicates when a consumer might consider using Regenerist versus Total Effects  or Definity. Other marketers are providing tools which advise which makeup looks best, or which facial treatment product is suitable for specific skin care concerns.

Marketers are also using alternative channels such as home shopping networks and infomercials as part of their launch campaign to demonstrate and tell the story behind a product.

Some retailers and marketers are working together to come up with truly original and unusual concepts. Home goods retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond and L’Oréal are testing a L’Oréal Paris boutique at one of Bed, Bath & Beyond’s NYC locations. This boutique features cosmetics, skin care, hair care, and hair coloring products. Brand ambassadors, who are Bed, Bath & Beyond associates, are trained by L’Oréal to offer shoppers advice and tips on which products are best suited for them.

Overall, retailers are on the lookout for strategic acquisitions, which would enable them to carry desired brands and/or expand their services. This has encouraged the acquisition of HauteLook by Nordstrom and is likely also a driving force behind the pending acquisition of drugstore.com by Walgreens.

In terms of products, mass marketers are all looking to carry more upscale brands, with some retailers being more successful than others in this pursuit. Duane Reade has been able to develop upscale Look Boutiques, while CVS appears stalled in the expansion of their Beauty 360 concept.

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