The beauty aisle at Walmart has received a makeover during the last few years. This is partially due to the retailer’s commitment to reducing the number of products with chemicals deemed harmful, while also requiring suppliers to disclose ingredients both online and on product packages. Playing a vital role in selecting the retailer’s beauty assortment is Jody Pinson, who has been with the big box retailer for more than 29 years, and currently leads the Beauty Division for Walmart U.S. In her role, Jody is responsible for developing merchandising strategies, managing supplier relationships, overseeing operational alignment for 4,500 stores and leading a team of nine buyers. Below, Jody found time to talk with Beauty News for our 5 Minutes with… feature.
Beauty News: How has the wellness movement affected the beauty aisles at Walmart?
Jody Pinson: Our customers increasingly want to use clean products in, on and around their bodies. In response to these demands, we’re offering more clean beauty items – from cosmetics, to skin care and more. On top of this, we’re expanding beyond traditional beauty items to offer ingestibles in the Beauty department. We believe that the trend of embracing your natural beauty alongside investing in your health will only continue to grow, creating a demand in the market for these products.
We also work with our suppliers to ensure the packaging they create is customer-friendly. For example, the EVOLUTION_18 line by Bobbi Brown calls out the product ingredients specifically on their packaging, noting the customer benefits and calling out that the products are non-GMO and gluten-free.
BN: What natural beauty brands are standing out at Walmart?
JP: We recently launched Found, a natural beauty cosmetic line that is exclusively available at Walmart and is priced between $2 and $15. The beauty line features a variety of skin care and cosmetics, like charcoal and arnica cleansing wipes, a coconut exfoliating cleanser stick and a nourishing lip mask with honey. Some of the other brands we’ve recently launched include Wild Spirit (fragrance) Perfume, Dr. Teal’s (bath salts, bubble bath, body wash), Sky Organics (moisturizers, oils, lip balms, mud masks), Mrs. Meyer’s and Dr. Bronner’s.
BN: What strategies are being used to reach consumers and encourage return shoppers, online and in-store?
JP: We want our customers to shop our beauty department when and how they like. We offer a variety of services that allow them to do just that—whether they want to purchase with online grocery pickup, browse our selection in-store or shop our Walmart mobile app. We also attract and retain customers by offering the merchandise we know they want to shop. We are laser focused on increasing our beauty assortment by bringing on new, national brands and exclusives such as EVOLUTION_18 by Bobbi Brown and expanding our private brands to deliver on the latest and emerging trends, like our Equate Lash Serum. Most importantly, we always welcome customer feedback to enhance everything we do, from the quality products we put on our shelves to the convenient services customers use to shop.
BN: How will Walmart’s beauty department evolve over the next few years?
JP: While I can’t share specific details, I can say we are planning to grow our assortment and we have some other things planned that will make it easy for customers to find these items. We are excited to learn more about this space and find even more brands and items we can offer our customers.
BN: What’s a specific business mistake you’ve made?
JP: There are times that I wish I moved faster when identifying new trends.
BN: Best advice for newbies entering the business today?
JP: It is important that you define what you want your story to be, how you will communicate that story to the customer and show what makes you different in this space. It is also important to think through capacity in the supply chain.
BN: What’s your work mantra?
JP: Believe in yourself and live life with no regrets.
BN: If you were to write the note found inside a fortune cookie, what would it say?
JP: Life is a series of choices. Today yours are good ones (I have this fortune hanging in my office).
Jody will be speaking at CEW’s upcoming event, How Macy’s and Walmart are Bringing Beauty Customers Back to Retail, to be held at Meredith Corp. on Wednesday, December 4. Jody will be joined by Nata Dvir, SVP General Business Manager for Beauty, Leased and Food at Macy’s. The duo will discuss strategies to get consumers back into stores. A cocktails networking session kicks off at 5:30 p.m., followed by a program at 6:30 p.m. To register to attend the event,