Target is one of our go-to stores when we are in need of practically anything you can think of-a hair brush, a summer dress, groceries, a plasma tv, makeup, face cleansers and much more. Recently, an article in the Chicago Tribune reported that Target would soon be expanding its “beauty concierge” within the Chicago area. The company’s goal is to expand this program from 28 to 44 stores. The uniqueness of this program is that associates are dressed in black aprons equipped with iPads, as well as mirrors and product samples to provide shoppers with guidance and expertise when they are browsing through the aisles of the beauty section looking for beauty products. According to this article, Chicago was selected as the test market for this program due to its shopping population. Specific locations Target is hoping to expand this program include Cicero, Vernon Hills and West Schaumburg while shutting the program in other locations such as Palatine, Bedford Park, Joliet, Villa Park, Oswego, Plainfield, North Aurora and Romeoville. Further, Target is also expected to expand its program into three additional markets: Los Angeles/Orange County, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C
The implementation of Target’s Beauty Concierge program is part of a trend in the beauty industry in which department stores and specialty retailers are helping and giving customers the opportunity to try their products before buying them. Since the skin care market grew 10 percent in 2012, Target is anticipating this program to boost sales. This new personalized beauty service is allowing Target not only to compete with stores such as Walgreens, who offers most of these products, but also to beauty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty. Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner at a global management consulting group commented on Target’s strategy by saying that at the end of the day fashion is a product and department stores are competing with beauty retailers and vice versa.
Operation managers at Target are certainly trying to keep up with the industry by coming up with these unique strategies. I think that the implementation of this new service can be a great success in very populated Target stores across the city, for example in downtown Chicago. As this program matures, I think Target will gain a competitive advantage over other popular department stores such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS. The success of this program will largely be dependent on the type of associates that are being hired and the level of training they receive. Customers nowadays are always looking for advice when they are shopping for products, especially make up because not everyone is a beauty expert. Having someone to help you choose which specific foundation matches your skin, which mascara would help your lashes stand out, or which lipstick would look nice with an outfit, is certainly a service customers will appreciate. In my perspective, operation managers should place great emphasis on the increase of sales from beauty products to ensure that this project is being managed efficiently and can perhaps be used as a basis to provide a reasonable forecast to other Target stores across the nation.
What is your opinion? Do you think this program would attract more customers?
11 thoughts on “Find a Beauty Expert at Your Local Target!”
This was a nice review of the article, and there were some very interesting factors in there. I believe that Target will have to really fight for their spot in this sector. I know a lot of the big stores like Macy’s have a floor designated to these products with women at different booths representing different companies, so it would be hard for Target to get to that type of personal service. Although, with the right setup and a lot of good marketing this could work and end up being successful.
I heard you saying about Target’s Beauty Concierge program. Partially, I agree with you about that the Target’s new service can be a great success for the company. However, in order to succeed, they should have highly trained consultants. Personally, I do not go to Target to buy beauty products, such as mascara, foundation, or face lotion, so I won’t be benefited of their program. Everything depends what customer wants and needs are. I cannot use Target or Walgreen’s cosmetics because of sensitive skin. However, I do think that this program would attract more customers but it will be tougher to compete with other stores like Macy’s or Sephora.
I think article is very interesting. Target is following suit with Walgreens, and their decision to open tester stores across the country that showcased the beauty department in particular. Their idea was to create a department store feel, but sell products for less than half the cost. Makeup is a HUGE seller for Target and Walgreens, so I think it’s brilliant for them to capitalize on this idea, and make the store feel more like Sephora or Ulta, rather than Target. I agree with the post above however, that the consultants must be well trained in order for the program to be successful.
Interesting topic choice! However, I do feel like this is an unnecessary move for Target. Beauty experts are typically only seen in stores that sell high-end makeup lines, like Sephora, or your typical department store like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales, which is understandable since the price point is considerably higher than drugstore brands, therefore it is super helpful to have someone with product knowledge and advice. With Target, they only carry what would be considered to be “drugstore brands”, like Maybelline or CoverGirl, (with the exception of their 2-3 higher end brands like Napoleon Perdis or Pixi). Typically when a customer goes into Target to buy makeup, the price point is so low that there is no real loss when buying a product and taking it home to try it out and it doesn’t work out. Also, there’s not really a lot advice or product knowledge that a beauty expert at Target can impart. Most of their customers walk in with already having a good idea of what they need. Take Ulta for example. Their store is split into two sides for makeup, the drugstore brands and the high-end brands. Typically the beauty experts are only on the higher end side giving advice or helping customers test out the products. If you walk around the drugstore brand side, the beauty experts are either only re-stocking or standing around since customers are not really approaching them with questions. Drugstore brands are pretty self-explanatory, all you need to know is written right on the package, therefore the addition of beauty experts at Target would be quite unnecessary.
I think this is great! This reminded me of my experience at Walgreens a couple days ago. My mom and I were at Walgreens to buy random things and while walking by the makeup aisle, she suddenly wanted a new lipstick when she has 50 at home. She usually gets her lipstick from Macy’s where she can try them out before buying it. In Walgreens however you can’t really test it out because they’re all sealed. Let’s just say we wasted 30 minutes on deciding whether or not we should buy 3 lipsticks. She just didn’t feel sure about buying it before testing the color out so we walked out of the store with no lipstick. Now she will be one of those customers who will appreciate Target’s beauty concierges. I know I would too. I really don’t wear makeup and I don’t know anything about makeup basics so I would appreciate Target’s beauty advisors. I think this would improve sales because beauty concierges are trained to help out customers and persuade them to buy it. So yes Target will attract customers compared to Walgreens and other stores.
Interesting article, I think they could be successfully if they have right set up and right marking strategy. But with that they have a lot of competition like JC Penney has Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy and Lord and Taylor has many different make up companies that do make up and sale make up. But, for customer they are never going to think that Target might have make up companies, because if you think of Target first think comes in your mind is grocery or shopping for your house needs. So if Target has right marking strategy then they could do a nice job on it.
I think the competitive landscape in mass retailer is being disrupted by Target. Target has made it not only reasonable to shop there but customers enjoy it. They are pushing the business model further and I think the leadership position Target is taking over Walgreens and Walmart is notable. By adding beauty consultants to the store is a major shift in the traditional sales process at big box retail. From an operations and project management perspective I immediately thought about the initial product training and ongoing education. Target will have to provide general beauty training and product knowledge so customer trust the beauty experts. The consultants at Ulta and Sephora are trusted and customers know that the representatives are subject matter experts. If the consultants are properly trained the model will fail.
This strikes me as an interesting and timely post. The retail environment is rapidly evolving and a number of retailers are attempting to redesign themselves while others fall by the wayside. I think that Amazon is driving a good deal of the action as people do more and more shopping online. As of 2010, there were 137 million digital shoppers in the US and that number is projected to grow to 175 million by 2016. Traditional retailers will have to be creative and provide incentives for shoppers to visit their stores since it’s difficult to offer an overall better value proposition than Amazon due to the convenience factor of shopping online anytime and anywhere. Offering beauty consultants and other similar services will allow Target to differentiate their offerings from Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers in the value space. However, I’m not certain whether Target’s core market are the sort of shoppers who are interested in personal beauty consultants. It will be interesting to see whether they’ll be able to attract high end shoppers and gain the ability to offer more high margin products. Even if the beauty consultants experiment is ultimately unsuccessful it will allow Target to see what sort of new markets they might be able to gain traction in.
I think Target is making a smart business decision for expanding its beauty department. Women have always invested heavily in their appearance and often look to experts for advice and consultations. That is why Sephora is so popular. Also, drugstore makeup has improved dramatically over the years and can truly rival some of the higher end makeup. If Target can emphasize this improvement to its customers by allowing them to test the quality of their products before buying, Target can capitalize on the women willing to save money on makeup.
I believe that by having the experts on hand this will help to sell more product. It seems that customers at store, such as Target, look to do much of their shopping at the same store, whether it’s clothing, make-up, etc. By having experts at the store helping customers to make decisions this will promote sales, as well as customer service. One of the questions is will it draw customers from high end stores to buy their make-up at Target. I’m not sure about that, however I think it could help to sell the higher quality make-up that customers wouldn’t normally upgrade to and would give better customer satisfaction.
I think that having beauty consultants in Target stores will probably boost sales. I have to admit that I don’t usually get product advice from consultants at Ulta and Sephora but in other stores where consultants exist, if I speak to them, I tend to end up buying more!