Retail Drug Stores Ramp Up Beauty Sections, Brand Partnerships

Retail Drug Stores Ramp Up Beauty Sections, Brand Partnerships
Walgreens Logo inside store - Editorial credit: Sundry Photography /
Retail Drug Stores Ramp Up Beauty Sections, Brand Partnerships
Walgreens Logo inside store – Editorial credit: Sundry Photography /

Drug stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS are peddling more than medicine these days. Many of these retailers are getting into the beauty and wellness markets, according to a new study. These stores are also looking into technology-driven and online shopping trends to bring more customers into their stores.

Coresight Research released a report April 30 that suggests U.S. drugstore retailers are adding more products to their beauty shelves. CVS and Walgreens are taking the forefront, having redesigned their beauty and wellness spaces in their stores, the report suggests. These stores have also partnered with beauty brands to provide “exciting experiences for customers.”

“CVS launched shops-in-shops called BeautyIRL at four of its pharmacies in October 2018,” the report states.

BeautyIRL provided mini beauty services through a partnership with GlamSquad, “a technology-driven beauty services company.” Customers could try on makeup in-store, have their hair styled and receive skincare and manicure services.

Walgreens did a similar partnership with online beauty subscription Birchbox. The brands collaborated to bring the online subscriptions Indie and cult makeup brands to everyday consumers that peruse Walgreens stores each day. Birchbox, an online-based beauty subscription stands to gain by bringing these brands to a mainstream shelf like Walgreens.

Each month, Birchbox sends customers a set of personalized curated beauty supplies to their door for a fee of $12-$15 per month. Birchbox has more than 100 brands that it’s collaborated with to provide customers with unique and quality products.

“Birchbox’s sweet spot is a woman in her 30s with an average household income of around $100,000,” Forbes wrote in a Dec. 10, 2018 article. “While the Walgreens’ shopper skews older and is notably less affluent (with an average income akin to the average American consumer,) their commonalities eclipse their differences, said Katia Beauchamp, CEO of Birchbox to Forbes. Instead, their shoppers share a ‘psychographic’ kinship, said Beauchamp, who co-founded the brand in 2010.”

Walgreens and Birchbox each serve the everyday beauty consumer who shops the category with “purpose” rather than “passion,” Beauchamp said of the partnership to Forbes.

“This is not the beauty enthusiast who watches Instagram videos on makeup contouring,” she said to Forbes. “But it’s this passive beauty consumer, who wants a convenient experience that takes the guesswork out of buying beauty products, that accounts for a whopping 70 percent of the market.”

The shop will feature a showcase of products that include skin care, makeup and hair products from more than 40 of Birchbox’s partnered brands.

Beauchamp said to Forbes that Birchbox shops at Walgreen carve a niche for the everyday beauty shopper by marrying the delight of discovery with a kind of practical utilitarianism.

“With this move, the eight-year-old subscription-box service with just two of its own stores in New York and Paris, gains exposure to the “scale and expertise” of a 117-year old brand with 9,800 stores,” she said to Forbes.

Sources: Forbes, Birchbox, Coresight Research


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