On Thursday, at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Haft Auditorium, the graduates of the school’s 2011 Masters Capstone program presented their visions for the future of the beauty industry. The program, sponsored this year by Target, explored topics relating to innovations in the mass retail sector. Three groups presented their projections and recommendations for bridging beauty and fashion, the evolution of naturals and cosmeceuticals and how to utilize the allure of the prestige market at mass.

This story first appeared in the June 3, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

 

At the heart of many of the presentations was an emphasis on creating emotional connections and offering digital connectivity, convenience and curated cross-channel product assortments. “The traditional channel approach [to beauty] is now irrelevant,” said one group member. “The lines between mass and prestige are blurred,” said another. “Both must work together to cater to [consumers’] needs.”

 

From offering fashion-forward events at mass to in-store services, the groups stated that retailers should take advantage of the power of the mass sector (which is shopped by 76 percent of consumers) to drive sales and foot traffic into stores. Citing the U.K.’s multichannel megastore Boots as an example of a place where “prestige and mass can live under one roof,” presenters offered their visions for cross-category beauty shopping.

 

One group imagined an outpost where consumers could digitally shop for products (from over-the-counter items to skin care) while getting pedicures, then pick up a bag containing their selections at the register. Another suggested limited-edition partnerships with designers at the mass level. “It’s about content, but in the right context.”

 

Editing product selection for both online and in-store shopping was also a suggestion from the graduates.

 

“Bring beauty into different departments,” said a presenter, who gave the example of offering a kiosk complete with bathing suits, beach totes and beauty products in a store’s apparel section. “Offer a snapshot of the consumer’s dream life.”

 

This year mark’s the 11th anniversary of the Capstone program, a Masters of Professional Studies degree initiative in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management at FIT, in which students research a particular aspect of the beauty industry and offer forward-thinking suggestions.

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