The one the most pleasant beauty surprises happening this year is being spearheaded by CVS. Yes, as in CVS Pharmacy. Known for being the nation’s leading retail pharmacy, it may soon claim the same title in beauty, namely skin care.
It started last year with the removal of sun care items that had an SPF lower than 15. Next, they added more dermatologically-approved items – presently there are 700. CVS also increased their natural and organic presence, which equals more than 2,000 products in the beauty section. Finally, last week, the company pledged to remove harsh chemicals from 600 of their own branded beauty products by 2019, which included: CVS Health, Beauty 360 (which offers 75 high-performance face and body products), Essence of Beauty and Blade.
Most impressive, however, is their trend wall, which includes Korean beauty products curated by K-beauty guru Alicia Yoon, founder of the Korean beauty e-retailer Peach & Lily.
“We wanted to bring an experience in beauty that had a purpose while helping our consumer on her path to better health. Then we asked, how do we translate that at CVS?” said Maly Bernstein, Divisional Merchandise Manager of Beauty at CVS.
The new partnership, which rolls out this month and will be complete in October, offers more than 100 new items from South Korea along with popular indie brands. Products on the trend wall will include Alicia’s new Peach Slices, along with Wunder2, Elisha Coy, JJ Young by Caolion Lab, Ariul EGG Collection, The Saem, Holika Holika, and TIGI Cosmetics, which up until now, have only been sold in salons. The trend wall launches in 2,000 stores with Wunder2 appearing in 2,000 additional spots. Rotation will be based on POS sales and customer feedback.
“Customers are heavily engaged in social media. They know what the major trends are globally and they know what true innovation looks like because they are reading about it all the time,” said Maly. “We call our core customer a beauty experimentalist. She’s 25 to 45, urban, ethnically diverse, well-educated and earns a higher income. We’re trying to figure out how that translates into store. Many of these brands are U.S. exclusives to us.”
Their new marketing campaign is called Hello, Trends because “it connotes discovery. That’s a big part of what we’re focused on,” she said. Additional focus will go to paid social media, along with print, traditional advertising and word of mouth. And according to Maly, CVS will have the largest K-beauty assortment of any mass U.S. retailer.
“We are a health care company first, but with our trend wall we hope to be considered beauty with a purpose,” said Judy Sansone, Senior Vice President, Front Store and Chief Merchant. “Today’s customer is interested in this trend area. A number of indie brands is where our biggest growth has come from in the store. And while they are supporting regular brands like L’Oréal and Revlon, smaller brands are appealing to the customer at a different level. Customers want trends. And that’s what we will be bringing to them.”