Now it is hair care’s turn to shine at CVS. The addition of hundreds of on-trend indie brands, 160-plus K-beauty products and more than 2,000 natural, organic or naturally inspired products helped CVS register beauty sales gains that outpaced those of the overall mass market. Capping that off, the retailer launched the CVS Beauty Mark, a watermark identifying images that have not been materially altered.
The focus now shifts to hair with the influx of several first-to-market debuts, exclusives to CVS and extensions of strong selling brands. The hair-care business is booming and chains are scrambling to hammer out strategies to maintain their lion’s share of the $9 billion U.S. market. According to IRI data, the majority of segments in the category are up at a time when other beauty categories, such as color, are flat in mass market doors.
“Overall, we are building on the success we’ve had in beauty by continuing to respond to the ‘new factor,’” said Maly Bernstein, vice president of beauty at CVS Health. “We’re always in search of premium lines and niche products that can be difficult — or impossible — for our shoppers to find until they shop our aisles. This focus on innovation and trends will continue.”
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As previously reported, CVS is the launch pad for the retail distribution of eSalon, which until last month, had only been sold online. The eSalon Custom Hair Color Starter Kit rolled out to about 2,000 CVS doors last month. “With our focus on ‘real-life’ beauty, we’ve been seeking out ways to make the category and the products we offer more personal to each of our customers, and we feel eSalon is one way to bring that to our hair-care category,” Bernstein said. “It’s an opportunity for our shoppers who have expressed struggles finding their right hair color shade — or those who have wanted more opportunity to experiment — to find personalized service at their local CVS Pharmacy store.”
The Starter Kit retails for $15.99 and includes an access code redeemable for one custom hair color order, a step-by-step guide to ordering and CVS customers who buy the kit have eSalon’s on-call licensed colorists for support and consultation. Available for the first time with the in-store kits is the Precision Match Wheel, a tool that helps eSalon colorists identify the customer’s current, exact shade. Customers hold a special card while they take a selfie to be uploaded during the personalization process.
Additionally, CVS is the exclusive drugstore retailer for Bröö hair care now available in about 6,000 stores. Bröö uses premium, handcrafted beer in its formulas. CVS is also the only retailer selling all 15 stockkeeping units of Göt2b’s new hair color collection which just bowed in about 5,000 CVS doors. The introduction of the brand into color is key as the category continues to decline in the mass market and could use newness, industry sources said. The line includes bold colors that Bernstein said matches nicely with the chain’s recent Beauty In Real Life campaign highlighting diverse attitudes on beauty.
CVS is also going deeper into textured hair lines. There are additions to some of the briskest sellers including Curls Blueberry Bliss Leave In Conditioner, Mielle Organics, Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Thermal Heat and Protectant Spray, Miss Jessie MultiCultural Styling Lotion, Mane Choice Biotin Infused Styling Gel and a selection of items from Mixed Chicks.
A final push is in the booming dry shampoo market. “We have increased our assortment by more than 50 percent because we know this is a ‘must have’ product for our Millennial customers and it’s important to us to give customers convenient access to the most relevant beauty products they want, wherever and whenever they need it,” Bernstein said.
To improve the shopping experience in Specialty Hair Color specifically, CVS reflowed the department by categorizing items by color permanency and added shelf signage to help with navigation and selection. Temporary items are on the top shelf of the section, followed by semipermanent and permanent on the two shelves below, with the new signs providing general guidelines on how long the colors will last once applied.
There are also tweaks in treatment presentation. “In hair care, our customers tend to shop treatment products based on specific hair type and desired benefits. To help her more easily find what she’s looking for, we’ve consolidated those treatment items — within their respective brands — on elevated shelf trays,” Bernstein said.