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Dermstore Gets a Facelift for Future Growth

Dermstore, a California-based subsidiary of Target Corp., has unveiled its revamped Web site, new logo and new tagline, all part of a building block for the future.

Dermstore, a California-based subsidiary of Target Corp., has unveiled its revamped Web site, new logo and  tag line, all as part of a building block for the future, according to Dermstore executives.

“As a pure-play digital company, Dermstore’s access to robust consumer insights and advanced technology have shaped the company’s new direction,” noted Cathy Beaupain, chief marketing officer for Dermstore. “We’re continuing on our goal for double-digit growth.” While executives declined comment on the size of the business, industry sources estimated that Dermstore generates roughly $50 million in sales yearly.

Founded in 1999, Dermstore has grown to offer a range of more than 500 skin-care, hair-care and cosmetic brands. Dermstore features physician-strength formulas, otherwise only available through a doctor’s or surgeon’s office, spa care lines, salon-grade brands, as well as difficult to find niche and specialty brands from around the world. To date, the retailer has served more than two million customers, Beaupain said. Target Corp. acquired Dermstore in 2013.

“The brand is evolving into the next frontier of professional skin care, offering thoughtful guidance to consumers in search of the most efficacious and innovative skin-care solutions available,” said Jani Friedman, chief merchandising officer of Dermstore. “The Web site offers expertly curated product selections, advice and content from top industry professionals, as well as streamlined product categories and easier cart checkout, all within a clean, easy-to-navigate interface.” The company is in the process of designing and implementing a loyalty program, she added. “We’re looking at [the loyalty program] as a vehicle to see what they’ve purchased, why they’re purchasing and have a direct line of communication,” Friedman said. “We are, fundamentally, a data-driven company, and based upon her browsing and searching for, we’ll have a greater understanding of who she is.”

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The Web site was a natural place to start, Friedman said. “Our face to the consumer is our Web site,” she said. “We wanted to make it more scientific and more approachable. In addition, we edited a number of brands. We made sure that our strategic brands — the top 10 in each category — are prominent, that they’re being featured, that they are happy.”

Those top brands include Skinceuticals, Obaji, Skin Medica, Dermalogica, Glytone, Harry Josh and Jane Iredale, all with an average price point of $100, said Friedman. “We have products in the $550 range, and our tools are in the $400 range,” she added. “Interestingly, price doesn’t seem to be a barrier.”

Speaking of tools, Friedman noted that she’s seeing the most innovation in the light devices, such as those offered by Pulsaderm and LightStim. The new innovations of focusing and streamlining the light rather than allowing it to scatter will boost efficacy, she said. Hair-removal tools are another hot category, she said. “Luma Rx is our hero brand, and it’s a $400 device,” she said.

Friedman noted that 80 percent of the site’s customers are over the age of 30, with 78 percent of all customers holding a college degree. The average household income of Dermstore’s customers is $75,000. The site draws roughly two million monthly site visitors, and contains more than 100,000 product reviews from consumers.

Friedman added that 70 percent of the e-tailer’s sales are done in skin care, including the subcategories of natural, clinical, problem/solution and professional. Of these subcategories, professional is the largest, Friedman said. “It’s our halo, and those are the brands that do the best for us,” she said. Skinceuticals is the top-selling brand in that category, she noted.

In addition to the categories already mentioned, the retailer also sells hair care, men’s skin care, “smile care” (oral hygiene) and color cosmetics, although they are each a much smaller part of the business, Friedman said.

The retailer’s subscription box offering, BeautyFix, is about six years old, although it has been recently refreshed as well, said Beaupain. “It’s had a lot of different phases. We really focus on curating the assortment each month and introducing relevant brands and products. We feature at least one full-sized product a month, so customers really have the opportunity to use it.” Dermstore’s box retails for $24.95 per month; the retailer caps the available boxes at 8,000. “There’s actually a waiting list,” said Beaupain.

The new tagline, ‘Facing Forward,’ is intended to emphasize wellness, empathy and optimism, noted Friedman. “It’s less about beauty than it is about feeling good about yourself,” she said.

Five years from now, Friedman’s goal is to have 90 percent name recognition in the U.S. market. “If nine out of 10 women who are stopped on the street recognize it as a great website to buy skin care and recognize us as being ahead of the curve. I want us to be the destination for skin care.” Eventually, that will involve Target and Dermstore leveraging each others’ assets, she noted.

Added Beaupain: “What I think is going to be most important is accessibility — when you need something, you need it now,” she said. “That’s where Dermstore has an opportunity, as a pure-play online retailer — you can order something and expect it to be at your front door then next morning. We also have the opportunity to customize content for users…five years from now, we should be able to deliver on that promise.”