In 2002, L’Oréal imported two successful European skin-care lines — Vichy Laboratoires and La Roche-Posay — to U.S. drugstores. To accommodate these new offerings, the stores created dermatology departments, which also featured the sensitive skin-friendly Avene line, a favorite in European apothecaries. The first to add these kinds of derm departments were CVS, Brooks Drugs and Duane Reade.

Retailers liked the upscale presentations because the lines helped elevate the ambience of the entire beauty department, not to mention that the use of a counter to perform skin-care analysis provided a home for drugstore beauty consultants. The past 10 years yielded great learnings for L’Oréal executives, who now have another avenue to expand La Roche-Posay and Vichy in the U.S.

While there are drugstores within the big chains that can accommodate a full-line department, there are those stores that need a more compact offering. That’s where a new kiosk comes into play that is being introduced in Walgreens next week. The end-of-aisle display also unlocks one of the other challenges of selling upscale skin care through the mass channel — how to educate shoppers. Affixed to the displays is an interactive tablet that can be used with a beauty adviser or the consumer can interact with it on her own.

The tablet helps customers with skin concerns and needs while also guiding them to the selection of items ranging from cleansers to sunscreens. Additionally, users can get dermatologist advice and scan a product’s UPC code to instantly see the features, benefits and ingredient details.

Vichy will be sharing with consumers French beauty secrets, while La Roche-Posay will be delivering board-certified dermatologist advice. Consumers in stores can use smart phones to link to educational videos from La Roche-Posay called Dermatologist By Your Side. They can also access the videos at home. The videos are designed to be educational rather than strict product pitches.

There are consumers across the country who, despite the growth of retailers such as Sephora and Ulta, still don’t have easy in-store access to derm brands. “I moved from New Jersey to Missouri and can’t find a store that sells La Roche-Posay, I hope that changes now,” said Sherry Miller, a fan of the La Roche-Posay collection.

Walgreens executives said the department will go in the best beauty doors, but would not comment on how many. L’Oréal, however, did say it expects to have its derm brands in 3,000 doors by the end of the year so growth will be aggressive in Walgreens.

The derm brands are perfect for Walgreens, said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens’ president of daily living products and solutions, because the network of almost 26,000 beauty experts in the stores are trained to explain the somewhat more complicated products to help attract shoppers from specialty or department store brands. The in-store experts will also distribute samples.

Similar kiosks can be used to strengthen other more professional products at the point of sale such as hair color, foundation and even oral care. Retailers said they are partnering with suppliers to make fixtures more than just a tool to house products, but to also become an educational hub in the store.

People Places and Things

A few words with Joe Magnacca, Walgreens’ president of daily living products and solutions about the ribbon cutting for a new kiosk for L’Oréal, as well as what’s new at Walgreens.

WWDBeautyNews: Why are you expanding in derm brands?
Skin care builds loyalty and incremental sales. We know this can work from seeing success in Canada and Europe. And, we’ve had the derm brands in Duane Reade where they have been very successful. We are making a big statement and taking a leadership role. We have the right people in stores with our beauty advisers to make this happen. We have almost 26,000 Ba’s.

WWDBeautyNews: What else is new at Walgreens?
We continue to open new stores and as far as beauty, we are very excited about a new Beauty U, our new BA Awards for our Beauty Advisers.

What’s In Store

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Rite Aid Impresses
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