The retail arm of CVS Health has launched four pilot stores featuring a new in-store beauty format called BeautyIRL, according to a report published by WWD. Currently, two BeautyIRL test stores are located in Florida, and the others are in Andover, Mass. and Stamford, Conn. The new stores offer brands not typically associated with mass market beauty retail, as well as in-store beauty services provided through a partnership with Glamsquad. Services include blowouts, 30-minute makeup refreshers and skin care services, all of which can be done via walk-in or booked in advance online. Each service is expected to cost between $30 and $45.
The store format, which is reportedly about twice the size of a typical CVS Pharmacy beauty section, also features a #TrendingNow wall, which showcases upcoming, socially relevant indie brands. Shoppers are also encouraged to try products before buying them by creating their own bag of mini (i.e., travel-sized) beauty products.There's also a “Test-and-Play Hygiene Bar” staffed by CVS beauty associates. According to WWD, CVS plans to add more in-store BeautyIRL shops in 2019, and it would also bring the BeautyIRL product offerings online next year as well.
Total Retail's Take: With this new store format, CVS is working to compete more closely with beauty retailers Sephora and Ulta Beauty. CVS is looking to drive more beauty product shoppers, a fast-growing category, into its brick-and-mortar stores. Both Sephora and Ulta are well known for the services they provide in-store shoppers, including the ability to try on products before buying them; offering a vast selection of socially relevant brands; and salon services such as those that are offered by Glamsquad.
“In today’s rapidly evolving beauty retail landscape, customers want three things: brands, experience and service," Maly Bernstein, vice president, beauty and personal care for CVS Health, told WWD. "These stores deliver more inspiring, interactive experiences. While designing the BeautyIRL stores, we thought about the fact that 67 percent of customers rely on recommendations when making a beauty purchase.”