Drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens have a new marketing tool in the battle to remain competitive and relevant in today's always competitive retail market: beauty product imports.
A growing number of drugstores are beginning to introduce European lines in their health departments in hopes of taking some of the customers from traditional beauty counters in department stores. The tactic may just work.
Many of these imports contain much of the same sought after ingredients in products found at stores such as Sephora or department store makeup counters. These ingredients include retinol, peptides and antioxidants.
CVS is a good example of this emerging trend. Not only has the CVS chain rapidly expanded due to its acquisition of Sav-On drugstores, but the stores have all been renovated. They are easy to navigate and make shopping fun and easy.
The cosmetics sections in CVS stores are called Healthy Skincare Centers and feature French skincare brands such as Avene and La Roche-Posay. La Roche is the same product that used to be sold only through dermatologists in the United States.
The Healthy Skincare Centers also sometimes feature skincare consultants and because of the seemingly higher quality products, the prices tend to reflect that image. The highest priced beauty product now at CVS is $60, which is a far cry from many of the price tags under $10 for beauty products.
The new beauty inventory at CVS may not necessarily make customers who normally buy Oil of Olay skincare products convert to the imports. However, it has the potential of taking customers who would not normally shop at CVS for beauty products, away from other retailers.
Not only will people be getting the same product they would normally get at a mall, but they would get it without the hassle of having to go the mall and deal with pushy cosmetics representatives.
Target is another chain that introduced imported beauty products. After renaming their beauty departments, Bath & Body (which sounds all too similar to retailer Bath & Bodyworks) they also brought on brands such as Ma Provence and Italian shaving products from Proraso.
Similarly, Walgreens also introduced seven brands that are European in origin to its stores.
Whether or not the lines will do well enough to bring these companies enough money to stay on store shelves, is not really in question. Customers already showed that they were willing to purchase items at drugstores that they wouldn't normally buy at drugstores.
The gift cards to other retailers sold at drugstores is a good example of this as witnessed during the past holiday season.
More shoppers are willing to invest a little more of their attention at drugstores because of the convenience of these stores as opposed to going to traditional shopping centers to get what they need.
High-end beauty products may be just a tip of the ice berg when it comes to what drugstore executives think up next to put on their shelves.