Retail Insights from Retail & Tech No 20

Retail news and trends to watch out for


  • Coming together. US-based Ulta Beauty is to launch a shop-in-shop concept at retailer Target. The partnership between the two retailers will see the launch of Ulta Beauty at Target shop-in-shops in around 100 Target stores and online from the second half of 2021. The companies say they expect to then roll out hundreds more locations. The shop-in-shop concept will sell established and emerging prestige brands, although no more details were available. The deal comes at a time when brick-and-mortar retail has suffered from lockdowns and consumers have been reticent to shop in physical stores due to COVID-19. However, Target has performed well as it is seen as essential retail and has kept stores open. The partnership will enable Ulta Beauty to reach more consumers in more locations without the costs of building new stores from scratch. Target meanwhile, will benefit from an Ulta-curated beauty offer and services, given that the shop-in-shops will be manned by staff trained by Ulta. Questions remain, however, over the assortment and which prestige brands will be sold in the Target environment. The deal will no doubt also be closely watched by Sephora, which has shop-in-shops with JCPenney, a retailer that has been struggling for some time and is in bankruptcy proceedings. JCPenney is also mostly found in malls, which have seen foot traffic decline during the pandemic.


  • Blurring physical and digital. Indian beauty brand MyGlamm has opened a flagship store in Mumbai, which it says blurs the lines between physical and digital retail. The store puts the focus on co-creation with consumers and on involving the digital community in-store. For example, there is an area where customers can test digitally crowd-sourced formulations and then provide their feedback to further contribute to the content. There are also booths to create content privately that can then be shared on social media. In addition, the store will host workshops with Bollywood make-up artists that will be broadcast digitally across India. At a time when brands are cutting back on physical retail, MyGlamm has opened a flagship that covers 3,000ft2 (279m2) and claims to be India’s largest beauty store. MyGlamm ceo Darpan Sanghvi says that the answer for physical retail in a post-COVID world is not to scale down, but to scale up to create what he calls a true experience for the consumer.


  • Black Friday 2020-style. Black Friday is going to be very different this year. Just a few months ago, many brands and retailers were eyeing the shopping event as a way to push sales and get rid of stock – even though some were wary about high levels of discounting. However, in France, retail trade associations have launched an appeal to ban black Friday in light of the national lockdown that has been imposed and has forced non-essential retail to close. The trade associations say that if Black Friday goes ahead, it will benefit only e-commerce players (especially online giant Amazon) and furnish them with an unfair advantage as most brick-and-mortar retailers cannot trade. In the US, meanwhile, retailers have lengthened the Black Friday deal season – Walmart for example will hold special deals from November 4 until November 27, while Target will hold week-long discounting events in November, with each week dedicated to a specific product category. Almost all retailers have ramped up digital initiatives in preparation for Black Friday, with many expanding contactless services, such as buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS).


  • Live shows & shopping. Lancôme (L’Oréal) hosted a live shopping event with its ambassador Chiara Ferragni to showcase her second collection with the brand. The Chiara’s Beauty Show attracted more than 46,000 viewers and generated 200,000 likes and comments. During the show, Ferragni unveiled the new collection, while Lancôme creative director Lisa Eldridge used it for a live make-up tutorial. Vogue Japan creative director Anna Della Russo also joined the event through a live video call. The end of the show saw Ferragni, her sister Valentina Ferragni and her friend and influencer Veronica Ferraro take part in a pyjama party to share beauty secrets among themselves and the live audience.


  • Online expansion. More retailers are likely to up their expansion into new markets through online platforms, rather than brick-and-mortar stores. Dutch department store De Bijenkorf has just launched an online store in France, offering fashion, cosmetics and accessories from more than 1,000 brands. It features 28 beauty brands, such as Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, Estée Lauder, Dr. Hauschka, Kiehl’s, Nars, Shiseido and Sisley. The company opened a Dutch-speaking online store in Belgium in 2015 and an online store in Germany last year.