Krystal Walker, director of beauty development and customer experience at CVS Health, spoke to Insider Intelligence about the launch of Skin Care Centers. Building on the success of the Beauty in Real Life experiential retail format, the Skin Care Centers connect consumers with advanced beauty diagnostic tools and experimental educational innovations.
Insider Intelligence: How do the Skin Care Centers make the shopping experience more engaging?
Kristel Walker: We’ve hired estheticians as estheticians who can look at a client’s skin and tell them what’s going on. We’ve also introduced a number of new tools, such as SkinScope, a tool used by dermatologists, and our team has been trained in partnership with L’Oréal to ensure they are well-versed in using the tool.
What I love about the in-store experience is that we took a solution-oriented way of navigating the products. There are so many products in the field of skin care and we felt there was an opportunity to create more convenience for the customer. We build out the experience and break it down into different need cases, ranging from cleansing to the melanin experience.
In-store experiences should now be more engaging. They need to put a digital focus as people walk down the aisles with their phones in hand and do comparative shopping and research. You have to find a way to make it a seamless experience.
II: Why create a more accessible and personalized beauty experience?
KW: We talk about accessibility all the time and make sure those special moments are accessible to everyone, because it’s all about democratizing beauty. We know that part of our customer base is the same customer who walks into a beauty supply store and later stores at CVS. Why not give them the chance to access that level of service in the CVS that they use on a daily basis, instead of having to drive 10 miles out of their way?
In addition, we wanted to ensure that we were reflective of the communities we serve, as we know that some underprivileged populations do not normally have access to a dermatologist. We’ve built equity into our MinuteClinics and our Health HUBs, and this is just another extension of the same principle.
II: What shifts have you seen in the beauty market as a result of the pandemic?
KW: We saw a huge shift to products within the self-care and DIY section. Now we’re starting to see that a little less, but what’s coming back is that customers are more engaged in group social activities. We’ve seen a rise in categories that help build customer confidence, ranging from grooming services to cosmetics to sunscreen.
II: What is the future of beauty products?
KW: Personalization will become increasingly important. Experiences that tie custom products to the customer are key, and you can now do that within a CVS store. In addition, relevance and innovation are important to our customers, so you need to find ways to keep the customer engaged as they walk down the aisle. For example, we have our ModiFace’s Derm Skin Analyzer for the on-the-go shopper who may not have the 15 minutes it takes to sit down for the SkinScope tool and want to scan a QR code and keep it moving.
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