CVS Pharmacy is zeroing in on the fragrance category.
This story first appeared in the July 12, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Come September, the retailer will beef up its home brand Essence of Beauty with a collection of bath and body products featuring scents created by master perfumers.
“We wanted unique fragrances from some of the best in the business,” said George Coleman, vice president of store brands at CVS Pharmacy. “We worked closely with our master perfumers to figure how we could start with the fragrance and get that similar experience throughout the line.”
The lineup, launching to all 7,400 CVS locations, as well as online at cvs.com and essenceofbeauty.com, will be comprised of four scent families with various “layerable” body products within them. Wind Kissed is based on spring flowers, In the Tropics alludes to island life; Forever Paris is a rose-based Parisian-inspired scent, and Secret Woods is designed to channel the feeling of a hidden forest. Perfumers Constance Georges-Picot and Arnaud Winter of Cosmo International Fragrances and Shinta Judana of Mane created the scents.
“The everyday woman is looking for moments that help them indulge and escape their busy lives, and the fragrances I develop for her have the ability to transport her,” said Georges-Picot, the nose behind the Secret Woods fragrance. “One of the reasons I wanted to partner with CVS on this line is that I can create custom, complex scent profiles that have that transporting ability, and CVS makes them accessible and affordable so anyone can enjoy them.”
Each range features a body mist, $2.99 to $6.99; a bath and shower gel, $5.99; a body lotion, $5.99, and a body and hand cream, $1.99 to $6.99. The collection, which will feature new Essence of Beauty packaging meant to share perfumer inspiration more clearly, was formulated with ingredients like passion flower seed oil, rice bran oil, vitamins A and C and aloe vera. Although the brand would not disclose numbers, industry sources estimate the 32 new stockkeeping units could generate more than $10 million in their first year at retail.
“We were one of the first drugstores to have a proprietary fragrance line,” said Coleman. “We do have not just a special advantage knowing our customers so well, but also a commitment to be relevant to them.”
The collection will be displayed on newly designed kiosks, which will launch permanently on Sept. 1. Products will also be featured on endcaps and floor stands across CVS stores from Sept. 8 to Oct. 12. Additionally, customers will be able to sample the scents via a Fragrance Tester Bar, a first for CVS. “Sampling and discovery in-store is new for us,” said Coleman. “We’re thinking a lot about her experience — her experience in the store and online. With fragrance, she has to be able to try it.” To that end, the Tester Bar fixture will be added to the top 2,200 CVS stores, while the remaining shops will have other types of sampling available.
In addition, a Web site, called essenceofbeauty.com, launching on Aug. 2, will offer CVS customers — 80 percent of whom are women — an “interactive scent finder” as well as interviews with the perfumers.
“For us there was white space for a sophisticated set of fragrances that were accessible,” said Coleman, adding that the new introductions come as a result of consumer research via the retailer’s 12 million Beauty Club members.
“We created four separate fragrances so we could hit different targets,” he said. “We wanted [to reach] a more sophisticated consumer, someone willing to try new things at a variety of price points.”
Coinciding with the launch of the new ranges, existing best-selling Essence of Beauty products, which range in price from $1.99 to $12.99, have been updated with new formulations and packaging.
“Body is a big category at CVS,” said Coleman. “Health and feeling good about yourself are so intimately tied together and beauty is key. The beauty business itself is very important to CVS.”