- Target on Wednesday announced the development of the "Target Beauty Studio," a project with Perfect Corp.’s YouCam Makeup augmented reality app. A digital screen set up in the beauty departments in 10 stores, or at Target.com and on mobile, allows customers to “try on” makeup shades before they buy. The technology will be rolled out to more stores later this year. The retailer is also keeping humans in the game, with beauty experts in stores and available by text, plus a soon-to-launch beauty chat option.
- To capitalize on what the retailer says is growing market share in men’s grooming (set to double by 2020, according to a company blog post), Target has developed new men’s grooming departments in 11 stores, with plans to expand to 80 by the end of the year, along with a page online.
- More than 600 products are featured in the new section, from a list of brands that includes Harry’s, Beardbrand, BYRD, Cremo, Maestro’s Classic and Pacinos, along with men’s accessories like hats and wallets from Target’s new private-label Goodfellow & Co apparel brand.
The beauty market is delivering a lot of sales and attention to any retailer willing and able to take advantage of it. Specialty retailers like Sephora and Ulta have yanked market share from department stores — which are fighting back by changing their previously hard-sell, segmented approach. Macy’s Bluemercury stand-alone spa-retail locations are performing especially well, and J.C. Penney's Sephora concessions are among its few bright spots.
Mass merchants and drugstores have some advantage thanks to their convenience and the draw of the in-store pharmacy. But, for less specialized retailers, a lot comes down to offering some semblance of the beauty advice and opportunities to try products that are available at places like Sephora, along with appealing merchandise at lower prices.
Target’s differentiation so far has come from an emphasis on its dedication to selling a wide range of products, including fresh, new brands for a diverse population — not only for women of color but also, now, men. The retailer has also developed its own chemical-free fragrance lines, and earlier this month hosted 10 startups in a mini beauty accelerator.
Target isn’t the only mass merchant hoping to keep pace with specialty retailers and other rivals. Walmart this month is also offering personalized makeup consultations using its private-label Hard Candy line, with demonstrations of how to achieve a "Rock the Golden Glow" daytime look or "Rock the Golden Glam" for night. The effort is rolling out to 365 stores nationwide throughout the year, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.