The latest Retail & Tech newsletter out today – No 175

BW Confidential’s newsletter on the latest retail & tech trends in beauty


The Mall Group's AR loyalty program app
The Mall Group looks to AR for loyalty

Department stores and loyalty. Consumers expect more than points from their loyalty programs, according to the International Association of Department Stores (IADS). IADS says point-based programs can be difficult for consumers to understand, and with them consumers risk losing interest if the rewards are not attractive enough. As a result, department stores are revamping their loyalty programs to be ultra-personalized and are looking at what IADS calls persona-based programs, which provide benefits such as exclusive access to events and experiences, as well as perks or gifts such as a free bottle of wine or meals at retailers’ restaurants. The challenge, however, lies in communication, as most consumers remain unaware of these benefits, according to IADS.

Some department stores are going so far as to provide top-tier customers with airport fast-track access or free digital subscriptions to third-party services, such as Spotify. Gamification is also being used. The Mall Group offers Augmented Reality (AR) navigation features in its customer app, and consumers can play games or click on objects to get special deals, product offers or discount coupons.

BBW in the UK. Bath & Body Works (BBW) is expanding in the UK and has opened its first store in London in Westfield Mall. The new 2,000ft2 (185m2) store follows an opening in Manchester in July last year and brings the brand’s number of outlets in the country to six. BBW’s stores in the country are managed in partnership with UK-based retailer NEXT.

Nordstrom’s private plans. US-based department store chain Nordstrom’s CEO Erik Nordstrom and President Pete Nordstrom have informed the retailer’s board that they want to take the company private. In response, the board formed a committee of independent directors to evaluate any proposal from Erik and Pete Nordstrom, as well as from other parties. The founding family of Nordstrom collectively owns around 30% of the company’s outstanding shares, as of March 2024. 

Marionnaud & La Prairie. Beauty retailer Marionnaud is to begin offering La Prairie skincare treatments in suites at its stores in France. The first La Prairie treatment suite launched at a Marionnaud store in Paris, and there are plans to open over 15 suites at stores across France. The La Prairie suites will be launched in Marionnaud stores that incorporate a beauty salon. Around half of Marionnaud’s 400 stores in France feature beauty salons. Five La Prairie treatments will be available to Marionnaud customers and will be dispensed by the brand’s beauty therapists.


CeraVe's movie trailer poster
CeraVe’s film trailer for SPF skincare

CeraVe & entertainment. Skincare brand CeraVe has launched a new ‘edutainment’ campaign that aims to educate consumers on the importance of wearing a moisturizer with SPF daily via a movie trailer for a fictional romantic comedy called The One Under the Sun. The trailer is inspired by the popularity of matchmaking and reality dating shows and compares the search for a romantic partner with the search for a sunscreen. A dermatologist plays the matchmaker, recommending the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing SPF 30. CeraVe partnered with 40 influencers to create content to go with the campaign. Reality TV stars including The Bachelor’s Andrew Spencer, Love is Blind’s AD Smith, and Love on the Spectrum’s Abbey Romeo, posted content sharing what they look for in a partner. Meanwhile, dermatologists played the role of matchmakers, sharing educational content on what consumers should look for in moisturizers with SPF. The trailer will premiere in movie theaters across the US, as well as across social, digital and streaming platforms.

Shopping TV. Amazon Live has launched a new interactive shoppable channel on Prime Video and Amazon Freevee called FAST. The new FAST Channel will show consumers’ most-watched content from Amazon Live, including from popular creators, brands and celebrities. The channel will feature Amazon’s “shop the show” technology that allows consumers to browse and shop the content they are watching. While watching the FAST Channel, consumers can open the Amazon Shopping app on their phone, search “shop the show” and they’ll be taken to a shopping carousel showing the featured products they see on TV in real time. Some 75% of adults in the US look at a mobile device while watching TV, according to Samba TV.

COSRX’s TikTok buzz. Skincare brand COSRX said its recent TikTok challenge for its 6 Peptide Skin Booster Serum created a strong buzz on the social-media platform thanks to its simple, user-friendly concept. The #PatThePeptide TikTok challenge, which launched from March 7-20 included a TikTok filter explaining how to incorporate peptides into a beauty program, and encouraged users to “pat the peptide” as the first step in their routine. Since its launch on March 7, there were more than 7,500 posts featuring the #PatThePeptide filter on TikTok. The challenge saw participation from Dancing with the Stars dancers Liz Sanchez and Rylee Arnold. The #COSRX hashtag gained 4.3 billion cumulative views and the campaign’s primary hashtag, #PatThePeptide, also surpassed 77.9 million views. Within one week of the challenge’s launch, COSRX’s peptide serum was sold-out across all sales platforms, including COSRX TikTok Shop US, COSRX’s website, Amazon US and Ulta.

TikTok’s answer to Instagram. Short video app TikTok has launched TikTok Notes, positioned as a competitor to Meta’s Instagram. Users can log in with their existing TikTok account and post photos or images with both a headline and a caption. There is a ‘following’ tab to show the accounts a user follows and a ‘for you’ tab, where the app shows users what it thinks they would like to see based on an algorithm. On April 17, TikTok Notes became available for download and limited testing in Australia and Canada. 

US moves closer to TikTok ban. The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Saturday that would ban TikTok in the country, if its Chinese owner ByteDance doesn’t sell its stake in the company within a year. The bill was passed with a 360-58 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it will be voted on today. President Joe Biden has previously said he would sign the TikTok legislation. The bill, which originally gave ByteDance only six months to sell, was updated to extend the divestment period to a year. ByteDance will now have nine months to find a buyer, with a possible additional three months if a sale is in progress. However, this timeline could be extended even further as ByteDance is likely to go to court in an attempt to block the law.

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ: Trending in beauty

From left to right: @Janellemariss' video on burgundy mascara, Pat McGrath's doll make-up, Sabrina Carpenter's Sweet Tooth Caramel Dream, Burberry's Goddess.
From left to right: @Janellemariss’ video on burgundy mascara, Pat McGrath’s doll make-up, Sabrina Carpenter’s Sweet Tooth Caramel Dream, Burberry’s Goddess.

Key beauty trends on social media

One of last week’s top-growing TikTok trends across all beauty categories was burgundy mascara, according to research company Spate. Like the previous week’s purple mascara, user @Janellemariss’ video demonstrating the effect of burgundy mascara on brown eyes gained the most traction. It has 1.9 million views and 86.6k likes. 

After make-up artist Pat McGrath sent models down the runway at Maison Margiela’s haute couture show in Paris, with faces that appeared like porcelain dolls, doll make-up has taken off. McGrath inspired make-up artist Erika La’Pearl, who created a similar look for rapper Cardi B for the cover shoot of her latest single Enough (Miami). Singer Sabrina Carpenter also wore doll make-up for Kim Kardashian’s brand Skims’ latest lingerie campaign. #dollmakeup has 28.5k posts on TikTok. 

The top personal fragrance trends in online searches are currently caramel perfume and gourmand perfume, according to Spate. In terms of caramel perfume, the most popular search combinations include vanilla caramel, salted caramel, caramel chai swirl, and caramel pistachio. Caramel perfume is seeing growth of 78.2% year-over-year, with an average of 4.3K monthly searches. One of the top search results is ‘Sabrina Carpenter perfume caramel’, revealing the continuing influence of celebrities on fragrance, particularly those who are currently experiencing a surge in popularity.

A gourmand perfume usually features synthetic notes of honey, chocolate, vanilla, or candy. This category is growing at a rate of 77.5% year-over-year, with an average of 4.2K monthly searches. Consumer searches indicate a strong interest in gourmand fragrances in general, reflecting increasing consumer knowledge and understanding of fragrance profiles.