Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has taken its 10-year-old Beauty Boutique concept to another level.

Shoppers Drug Mart, Beauty Boutique, Beauty Boutique by Shoppers Drug Mart, upscale beauty department, beauty advisors, Sandra Sanderson, SDM, Shoppers Optimum, Beauty Boutique website, Beauty Boutique’s advisors, beauty experts, prestige beauty products, Bayview Village, Toronto

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Shoppers Drug Mart rebrands Beauty Boutique

April 22nd, 2013

TORONTO – Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has taken its 10-year-old Beauty Boutique concept to another level.

Rebranded as the Beauty Boutique by Shoppers Drug Mart, the upscale beauty department features a broadened mix, some of Canada’s leading beauty advisors and a new interactive website.

The Beauty Boutique in Shoppers Drug Mart's store in Bayview Village, Toronto.

The new name builds awareness of the boutique, and links it more closely to SDM, says senior vice president of marketing Sandra Sanderson.

It came in response to the lingering impression that the boutique is distinct from the chain, despite the department’s rollout to more than 330 stores, or about a quarter of SDM’s outlets. When customers heard about Beauty Boutique, they tended to be unaware that it was a store within a store, according to Sanderson.

At the same time, a new image for the department enhances “the overall look and feel of Beauty Boutique both inside and outside the store,” she says. The boutique’s brand identity now revolves around rewarding beauty inspiration. That identity is captured in signs saying “Imagine, indulge, inspire.”

Besides being rewarded with beautified looks, customers get Shoppers Optimum program rewards from shopping at the department. “What we’ve found with Beauty Boutique customers is that Optimum plays a really important role in delivering a rewarding experience to them,” says Sanderson.

Outside of stores, SDM is advertising heavily in style and beauty magazines. In total, the retailer expects to deliver 3.8 million impressions. The chain has also invested in key markets in prominent billboards near high-traffic stores with boutiques. These will deliver 2.2 million impressions.

The chain has also launched a Beauty Boutique website. “We really wanted to replicate the in-store experience to the extent that we could online,” Sanderson comments. The site includes the Beauty Boutique story “because we thought it was important for people to understand what it is that’s different and what it is that’s unique about the department.”
The site also includes brand pages allowing key manufacturers to discuss their products. Many have included television commercials or “how to” videos.

Also helping differentiate the boutiques online — as well as in the stores — are beauty advisors. “We found that women really trust the Beauty Boutique for providing unbiased product advice and having knowledgeable and professional cosmeticians, much more so than the competition,” says Sanderson.

She adds that, as opposed to department store advisors who pitch particular brands, Beauty Boutique’s advisors are impartial and looking for what the customer needs. “Customers recognize and very much value that. We see that as a key competitive advantage versus the department stores. So we try to leverage the strength and the trust of our beauty advisors online.

“Our site features five beauty experts. There’s a little bit of a story about each. They provide their top picks, and we will be updating the site and integrating new beauty experts on a regular basis, because we want people to see the faces of our experts.”

The site also serves as a key promotional vehicle for brands on deal. And a brand locator enables customers to find a Beauty Boutique that carries their favorite products. “So if you see Dior and you want to know where Dior is available, it’s now a very easy search, and we will identify all of the stores where you can find it,” says Sanderson.

The unbiased service of Beauty Boutique helped make SDM the No. 1 seller of prestige beauty products in Canada last year. An expansion of the department’s mix, with the addition of such brands as Urban Decay and Origins, has only added to its appeal.

“We found through speaking with customers and through research that they love the fact that Beauty Boutique is a convenient destination for all their beauty needs,” Sanderson says.

The retailer is also elevating its beauty presentation with a test boutique in Bayview Village in Toronto. The department’s broadened assortment features Chanel and YSL in addition to brands found within other Beauty Boutiques. “It’s also the first boutique with digital signage and a distinctive fragrance testing station,” notes Sanderson. “And it incorporates mass beauty products.

“We’re looking at all the elements that differentiate Beauty Boutique and trying to enhance and boost certain areas. We want to maintain our strength as a convenient, trusted destination. By bringing in additional brands we want to give our customers a greater selection and enhance the shopping experience. We’ve done some consumer research on Bayview Village, and the results have come back very, very positive.”