Target, Ulta: Pandemic Cosmetics Retail Innovation

Share Tweet Share Share Share Print Email The cosmetics business continues its pandemic-driven evolution as new partnerships and new brands continue to enter the market. The latest pairing to make news is Target and Ulta. Target announced Tuesday (Nov 10) that an Ulta “shop-in-shop” concept will offer both established and […]

The cosmetics business continues its pandemic-driven evolution as new partnerships and new brands continue to enter the market. The latest pairing to make news is Target and Ulta. Target announced Tuesday (Nov 10) that an Ulta “shop-in-shop” concept will offer both established and new brands online and in select Target locations beginning next year.

Called “Ulta Beauty at Target,” the brick-and-mortar concept will debut at more than 100 locations with plans to scale to hundreds more over time. The planned locations will complement Ulta Beauty’s current store locations and will mirror existing Ulta stores and take about 1,000 square feet of retail space. The shop-in-shop is expected to be enhanced with Ulta immersive, in-store digital AR tools such as GLAMLab, a virtual try-on tool that provides safe trial across beauty categories.

The online experience on Target.com and the Target app will also reflect the look and feel of Ulta and will be available on Target.com in the second half of 2021. A statement from both companies hinted that the combined 100 million active loyalty program members across Target Circle and Ultamate Rewards would be able to access special offers both online and in-store.

The second major partnership has been struck between L’Oreal and Google, Snapchat and Instagram. The global leader in cosmetics has launched a digital makeup line that works on live video using AR technology. The digital makeup tool lets social media users try out different looks on Google Duo, Snapchat and Instagram.

This service, as well as Ulta’s GLAMLab, has been designed to respond to the ongoing pandemic challenges of the makeup industry, which has traditionally relied on in-person trial-and-error sales with a heavy mix of sales personnel to help along the way. Called “Signature Faces,” the L’Oreal AR application works with the Snap Camera in Snapchat, so users can virtually wear the products on live video calls on the platform, as well as on Instagram and Snapchat. L’Oréal is also releasing one “exclusive look” on Google Duo, the first beauty product to be used directly on Google’s video conference system.

The industry has also turned to other kinds of social commerce. For example, a new DTC brand on the scene, Juno & Co has been started by a former Instagram influencer, Mira Torres. The company focuses on skin care and makeup with simple ingredients aimed at the Gen Z crowd. After launching in late October, it has already garnered 41,000 TikTok followers and 163,000 on Instagram by using how-to videos and Instagram celebrities like Julia Evelyn.

“We started marketing on TikTok about 3 months ago, testing various video styles and audio compositions,” Torres told PYMNTS. “Using our data, our sales contribution from TikTok has grown to become more than 10 percent of our current sales. The algorithm for organic reach on TikTok is such a great learning landscape, as well as the community consumption, and since it’s so early in its stages of world domination, reach is both incredible and unpredictable.”

Torres expects that social influence and creating communities will be critical in its marketing.

“We are a group of makeup lovers that created makeup for those like us,” she said. “So it is only right that we stick to our community-driven strategy of taking our one-to-one consumer conversations and utilizing their feedback to create more amazing products that everyone will love. As we continue to expand outside of color cosmetics, we will stay actively listening to our community on what skincare we need to make next.”

 

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NEW PYMNTS STUDY: CROSS-BORDER MERCHANT FRICTION INDEX – NOVEMBER 2020 

The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on global eCommerce sites. The report examines the checkout processes of 260 EU and U.S.-based B2B and B2C eCommerce sites from across 12 industries and highlights the key traits that can help merchants enhance their checkout experiences.

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