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Fashion & Beauty at Mass
By: LaShada Allen, Asha Daniels, Corey Reese, Melanie St. Amour and Kadi Thompson
Posted: August 26, 2011
The 2011 graduates of the cosmetics and fragrance marketing and management master's degree program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York presented their Capstone presentations at the Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail event and reception, sponsored by Target, at FIT’s Haft Auditorium in May. The following white paper accompanied the presentation from LaShada Allen, Asha Daniels, Corey Reese, Melanie St. Amour and Kadi Thompson.
Fashion and beauty are inherently linked, and women throughout time and all over the world understand this. In today's oversaturated world, companies have wooed consumers with personalization and customization, and brands across all industries are starting to take note. For years, consumers have received fashion and beauty tips from their favorite magazines. However, fashion and beauty are not merchandised and marketed together at mass, the way they’ve always been linked in magazines. Conversely, prestige companies such as Dior and Chanel have been leveraging this connection in order to create one common message to the consumer. While mass brands have successfully made the connection by sponsoring major fashion events such as Maybelline’s tie with Fashion Week, they have not yet translated that connection into the retail space.
In the consumer’s eyes, the lines have blurred. She is shopping in multiple channels for beauty products and apparel, and looking for value in each. She sees high and low fashion being mixed on the pages of her favorite magazines. The traditional channel approach is now irrelevant. According to Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail, “This mass channel shopper is smart.”1 While 68% of consumers say they learned lessons during the recession, they continue to shop and are looking at purchases differently. Seventy-two percent of shoppers pay attention to price and they expect good quality at low prices. Additionally, this shift in value will not end as the economy continues to improve. Sixty-four percent of shoppers are proud to be frugal and cautious.2 Today, mass retailers use lower prices to attract and retain consumers. The next challenge is to offer an enhanced shopping experience, framing it as additional value in order to retain these consumers as brands and retailers continues to compete for this frugal yet sophisticated shopper.
There are three overarching trends that are shaping consumer behavior in store, out of store and online: the popularity of one stop shopping, the advice of curators, and the proliferation of fast fashion and fast beauty. By understanding these trends, retailers must ask themselves how they can leverage the fashion and beauty connection while further driving the mass consumer. Additionally, how might retailers encourage the consumer to link purchase decisions between the two categories? By speaking to her in a way that is familiar by connecting beauty with fashion is the way retailers can grow sales of two of the highest margin categories at mass.
Traditional media has changed and with the rise of instant communication and brands has adapted its marketing to a more expressive generation. With this in mind, retailers must develop a 360 approach that links fashion and beauty at every step of the consumer’s life: enticing her with in-store merchandising, entertaining her with events, enamoring her outside of the store and engaging her using digital strategies when she’s on the go. In doing so, she will recognize that convenience, value and engaging experiences are now available at her favorite mass retailer.