By  on April 16, 2010

The reinvention of the mass market was the topic at Wednesday evening’sCEW Women in Beauty Series panel, “The Mass Appeal of Skincare.”

Remi Kent, global associate marketing director, Olay, and Shannon Petree, divisional vice president and general merchandising manager, Walgreen Co., both took to the stage to discuss market trends and how their respective businesses are addressing the ever-blurring channels of mass and prestige. Kent, who led the launches of Olay Professional and Olay Regenerist, said women are still hopeful that skin care products can be effective antiaging tools.

“The consumer is optimistic but she is scrutinizing,” said Kent. “She wants something that works.”

Kent said Olay customers seek visible results, clinical testing and testimonials. She cited Olay Pro-X as an example of the brand successfully backing up its claims with science. “The claims were bold and strong. They set expectations so she knew what she was buying into,” said Kent.

For Petree, a “customer-centric” retail environment is key for engaging consumers, including those trading down from prestige channels, especially at the shelf. To that end, Walgreens, underpresident and chief executive officer Greg Wasson, has widened aisles and increased lighting.

“We want the environment to be pleasing to the customer,” said Petree, who added that over 28,000 beauty advisors are available in Walgreen’s 7,200 stores. “We do the homework for the customer and are arming her with information,” said Petree. “We want her to trust what we are putting on the shelves.”

Both Petree and Kent said they are seeing trends towards naturals and men’s skin care, digestibles and preventative antiaging products. Both also see plenty of opportunity within the evolving mass channel.

“We have a very small window to capture [the prestige consumer] and keep her over time. We want to make sure she is delighted,” said Kent.

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