With its “Beauty Differentiation” store concept, Walgreens is banking on its reach (about 8,200 stores), a mix of exclusive and premium brands, a high level of service, and an engaging shopping environment to become “America’s most loved beauty destination,” Lauren Brindley, group vice president and general merchandise manager for beauty and personal care, said during a tour of the Vernon Hills, Ill., store.
The differentiated brand mix is led by the retailer’s flagship global beauty brands No7 and Soap & Glory. Brindley said that since the full No7 assortment was added to Walgreens.com, No7 has become one of the drug chain’s top-selling beauty care brands. In fact, No7 has become the No. 1 skin care brand for the retailer in Phoenix and Houston, where the chain had its test market stores for the brand, she noted. No7 also is seeing more repeat customers in skin and cosmetics, as well as a shorter purchase cycle, than competing national brands.
More new beauty brands are in the offing over the next couple of years, Brindley said, and Walgreens will continue to extend new beauty brands to additional stores and digital channels going forward.
One of the marquee features of the Beauty Differentiation stores is enhanced care for beauty customers — led by the beauty consultant. Specially trained to amplify the in-store experience, the consultant offers impartial, personalized advice and is armed with a tablet to share information on beauty products and trends with shoppers. The tablet also allows the consultants to place orders on Walgreens.com as well as review product information and access product reviews.
To maintain the high service level, Walgreens has formed new regional teams dedicated to beauty to receive new training and technology.
Beauty Differentiation also brings new lighting and fixtures to create a more welcoming environment, along with a new demo station and consultation area, where the beauty consultants can provide customers with individualized advice and help them try out products. The consultation area, too, features technology to aid customers in their beauty decision-making: the MatchMade device for matching skin tone to the best No7 foundation, and a hydrometer to measure skin moisture.
What’s more, the No7 display has testers so customers can sample products — a drug chain first, Brindley said, adding that updated presentations for national beauty brands are upcoming as well in select stores.