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Walgreens turns it up in beauty care

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Customers are hungry for beauty care and, with the rollout of its Beauty Differentiation store concept, Walgreens is positioning itself as the place to get it, according to Lauren Brindley, group VP and GMM for beauty and personal care.

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Lauren Brindley at Walgreens’ Vernon Hills, Ill., store.

“We’re trying to bring in different brands for different customers to ensure that, as we build our beauty strategy, we have products for all types of customers, backgrounds and ages — so everybody can find something to suit them,” she said in a recent interview at Walgreens’ store in Vernon Hills, Ill.

Women want to be able to trade up and trade down when shopping for beauty, Brindley said.

“It’s about having a portfolio of brands in our stores that reflects the customers in the communities that we serve. We’ll have different brand assortments depending on what a local store needs. But in all of our Beauty Differentiation stores, we are putting in our two flagship brands, No7 and Soap & Glory. And there are more brands to come.”

Walgreen is using store clustering to cater the mix in cosmetics, skin care, hair care and other beauty categories to the customer base. “So whether that be a premium assortment or a price-sensitive assortment, we can tailor to a store’s requirements,” Brindley explained.

“On the Balance Rewards database, we already have the market’s best beauty customers. So we know what she wants and what she would like us to offer her. That’s going to be exciting as we unlock the opportunity,” she said.

“Beauty Differentiation” signifies just that — Walgreens aims to be the clear choice for today’s beauty care consumer, according to Brindley. “We believe that we can offer her the best brands and make them much more accessible in an inspirational way,” she said.

Walgreens already holds a big advantage in reaching the beauty consumer, as about three-quarters of Americans are within five miles of a Walgreens location.

“And she tells us that she would love to come in and purchase all of those beauty products and spend time to dwell in a Walgreens store,” Brindley said. “She’s already indicating that she wants us to become more focused on beauty, and that’s what we’re doing.”

What’s more, Brindley noted, the surging demand for beauty care spans the generations.

“All ages are really embracing beauty, and one thing I think is fantastic is that there’s a big piece around individuality,” she said. “There’s a real difference between what the Millennial customer wants versus what the Boomers want. But there’s as much growth in the Boomers as in the Millennials. For us, that’s what’s really exciting. We’re not creating a model just for the under-30s. We’re creating an all-inclusive beauty model where all women of all ages can come in and find whatever makes them feel beautiful.”

Brindley said Walgreens is “well progressed” in rolling out Beauty Differentiation to stores and has started planning the next phase of the process. “There’s more that we want to be doing as we elevate the whole beauty area.”


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