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Target is making room for a new hire: the multibrand beauty adviser.

This story first appeared in the July 13, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Sunday, the mass merchant will launch the Target Beauty Concierge program in 28 stores in the metro-Chicago area. The initiative is a nine-month test that could potentially expand to 400 to 450 stores, said a Target Corp. spokesman. He said the test “will help us analyze the sweet spot from where we should expand nationally.”

Target has previously incorporated service in its beauty department, outfitting 300 Boots displays with advisers to tout the brand. But advisers in the Beauty Concierge program are brand-agnostic and trained on key products across all beauty brands in the assortment. To start, there will be 14 advisers, with each assigned to two stores during their 40-hour work week, said the spokesman. Each adviser, clad in black and wearing a Beauty Concierge logo on her apron, will man a small kiosk in the beauty department and be armed with a mirror and an iPad. They will dispense samples, tips and advice primarily across the skin care and makeup categories, according to Target. Target — known for its prowess in pushing the boundaries of the traditional mass market beauty experience — zeroed in on the Chicago area for this test because it includes all its store formats and a broad cross-section of consumers, said the company.

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