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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

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However, simply checking off boxes is not enough to win the game; retailers must engage the consumer. As stated in the New Rules of Retail by Robin Lewis and Michael Dart, “Well-edited retail brands … which know their consumers' likes and dislikes, provide an emotionally connecting experience in which less is more.”12 To engage the customer and connect fashion and beauty online, there are three concepts that could easily help her get the look: combining augmented reality with social commerce, utilizing a digital personal stylist and the creation of a unique flash sales site.

The concept of combining augmented reality and social commerce is right on trend and is a natural next step for retailers. The retail potential is huge. According to freelance podcaster Paul Skeldon, “You turn the augmented reality technology into something that creates genuine revenue streams. Retail and gaming are the obvious areas that can deliver revenues with augmented reality right now. The real money lies in turning augmented reality into the consumer space with games, entertainment and education. In the next 12 to 24 months you will see it everywhere, changing how people shop, by bringing the advantages of the Web to the in-store experience.”13 In the comfort of her home, a consumer “virtually” tries on fashion items, and then the site recommends beauty products to her to complete the look. Discounts prompt her to join a synchronized shopping session to share her look with friends in real-time via social networks, all of that while she is shopping. Beauty brands like M.A.C are already starting to implement these “synchronized” social shopping sessions and is a great opportunity for retailers.

Second, a beauty and fashion personal stylist could leverage all brands sold under a retailer’s roof to create a connection between fashion and beauty. For example, Target could launch “TARGET MY STYLE.” On the website, a consumer would take a quiz answering questions about her favorite beauty products, runway looks and fashion accessories. Then, the beauty and fashion personal stylist would curate assortments and email her suggested looks weekly. This concept could be applied in store with a style consultant asking a consumer to fill out the same quiz on an iPad and then helping her locate items. This concept is similar to the popular website, which tailors collections to subscribers after they’ve created a fashion profile online.14 Now, imagine the impact if a retailer could curate looks across multiple categories and brands—leveraging its natural expertise of one-stop shopping place for beauty and fashion either in store or online.

Finally, flash sale sites have changed the retail model and, they are here to stay. However, to avoid oversaturating the consumer's inbox, this flash sale site offers a new proposition. Twice a month, curated looks would be picked by beauty and fashion bloggers. Similar to Gilt, Rue La La, Ideeli and newly launched My Habits by Amazon, this site would offer deals but also, engage with fashion and beauty mood boards to show the customer how easy it is to get a deal and a look in just one click.


The world is driven by connections. Consumers are not only connecting with each other; they are connecting to brands, causes and technology, all at a speed unlike any generation has experienced before. Mass retailers must become even more connected to the consumer conversation. They must entice her in store, entertain her with events, enamour her at home and engage her online. If retailers continue to ignore the natural connection between fashion and beauty, they just might get disconnected from the conversation.


  1. W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, The Mass Consumer, personal interview (May 5, 2011)
  2. W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, How America Shops, Future Shop 2001, 2012, 2013 WSL Marketing, New York, Print  (2008)
  3. IKEA Annual Report Welcome to, IKEA Web (May 17, 2011)
  4. E Holmes and RA Smith, Why Are Fitting Rooms So Awful, The Wall Street Journal  (Apr 6, 2011)
  5. Best Buy Adds QR Codes to Product Fact Tags,, Retail Customer Experience, (Sep 17, 2010; Web May 1, 2011)
  6. HW Fashion Night Out In Harlem, http://harlemworldblog (May 17, 2011) 
  7. Outdoor Industry Association, News, WebNews, Outdoor Industry Association (May 17, 2011)
  8. CK ONE, Facebook, Welcome to Facebook—Log In, Sign Up or Learn More (May 17, 2011) 
  9. P&G and Walmart Celebrate 1 Year of Family Movie Night,   (May 17, 2011) 
  10. Bright Picture for U.S. Online Holiday Sales," Market Research & Statistics: Internet Marketing, Advertising & Demographics, EMarketer (Nov 17, 2010) 
  11. A Guess,  E-Commerce Retail, Web (May 4 2011)
  12. C Gondra, The New Rules of Retail, Need. Know. Accomplish. (Jan 21 2011)
  13. P  Skeldon,  Better than the Real Thing ( Feb 15, 2011)
  14. M Chase,, Digital Strategies, Telephone interview (May 3 2011)

Additional Refernces

  • W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, How America Shops, Retailer Report 2010: Department Store Report, JC Penney vs. Kohl’s vs. Macy’s Shoppers, Rep. New York, WSL Marketing, (2009)
  • W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, How America Shops. Retailer Report 2010: Mass Merchandiser Report. Walmart vs. Target Shoppers, Rep. New York: WSL Marketing, (2009)
  • W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, Time to Exhale? Sort Of ..., How America Shops: Trends from the Edge, 19 1  
  • W Liebmann/WSL Strategic Retail, Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop, How America Shops: Trends from the Edge 19 3–4
  • R Mullens, Wedding Bells Mean Cash Register Rings for Crate & Barrel, Others, Tampa Bay Online—Breaking News Headlines, Weather & Deals—Tampa Newspapers & WFLA,, Tampa Tribune, 25, 2009)
  • G Steinhafel/Target,  2009 Annual Report, Rep. 2009, Target Corp, Minneapolis(2009).
  • K Khoury/Estée Lauder,  Fashion and Beauty at Retail,  Personal interview (Mar 7, 2011)