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CEW Panelists Assess Beauty Retail

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: December 15, 2010
CEW’s Women in Beauty series

From left to right, Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group; Marla Malcolm Beck, founder and CEO, Bluemercury, Inc.; Sharon Rothstein, senior vice president, marketing, Sephora USA; and Nancy Schmidt, vice president, divisional merchandise manager cosmetics – trend & prestige, Macy’s; discussed beauty’s top categories in today’s marketplace at CEW’s October Women in Beauty series event.

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“It’s about 360-degree marketing; e-mail is a significant part of what we do, as well as utilizing social media to build traffic and relationships,’ said Rothstein. “In addition, the right event strategy is important. They are all part of the puzzle.” Malcolm Beck cited newness and offering solutions as strategic, while Schmidt said that offering gifts with purchase that allow a choice of components also appeals to customers. Grant acknowledged that the whole social media experience is driving more people to the stores. “It creates an energy that excites the consumer.” Rothstein added, “Social media is strong for us. With 800,000 Facebook fans that really talk to each other, this is a strong area.

“Connecting clients to consumers online is important, but it is hard to measure right now if our online business is impacting traditional retail in the stores,” said Malcolm Beck.

In response, Schmidt announced the opening of the Impulse Beauty Shop concept shops at Macy’s, which feature an open sell format of beauty brands, making a variety of beauty products accessible and easy to sample, on the beauty floor. “What’s exciting for us is to have a platform like this, that gets these trendy brands into the store. These are brands that young customers want.”

Regarding hair care, Grant cited dry shampoos as gaining popularity, and acknowledged brands such as Ojon and Carol’s Daughter for bringing innovation to their products. “We’re also beginning to see more of what consumers want to do for themselves with hair care, for example, supplementing with the salon,” she added.

When the discussion turned to the holiday retail season, several approaches were discussed. Rothstein suggested that partnerships were important, noting that hair care products at Sephora were positioned as offering an” experience.”