Beauty and personal care products have never been grocers’ stronghold. As sales accelerate in retail channels and new lines of celebrities like Lady Gaga generate considerable buzz, some players are taking another look.

Albertsons, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Trader Joe’s have recently expanded their stock and experimented with new ranges. Private label also offers the opportunity to develop sales with loyal customers, particularly in the field of beauty and 100% natural skin care.

But with so many strong competitors, including online sellers, analysts agree that grocers need to think outside the box and offer shoppers something more.

Hana Ben-shabat, a management consultant and advisor for beauty brands, told Grocery Dive that she believes the only way grocers can be successful is to carefully analyze their customers and determine if their business has the credibility to deliver high margin beauty and personal care products. Whole Foods, she said, is well known for selling organic, natural, and health-related products. So it was a natural progression for the grocer to also sell natural and organic beauty and skin care products.

“Whatever products you choose to sell, they must be in line with your overall positioning,” Ben-Shabat said. “You can’t offer very expensive products to customers who are looking for lower prices. ”

Grocers have an advantage over other retailers in that they have high traffic and repeat visitors who will notice new offers and react to promotions, Ben-Shabat said. Merchandising promising items in downtown store aisles or on end caps can generate additional sales and communicate a retailer’s commitment to beauty and personal care.

Krishna Thakker

Ben-Shabat noted that Whole Foods’ health and beauty aisle is wider than its grocery store aisles – a strategy that promotes navigation and looks good, she said. The grocer also offers promotional discounts like his recent Best Beauty Swap, which allows a limited number of customers to bring in their empty beauty and body care products in exchange for a bag full of clean beauty products. Whole Foods also features test products and disposable application tools to allow customers to try products for themselves before purchasing them.

Jason Maehara, head of consumer and retail practices at AT Kearney, noted that retailers often take a piecemeal approach to health and beauty care and fail to form a cohesive offering. Grocers, he said, need to determine a beauty and personal care strategy and make sure it matches their overall grocery positioning.

“The real trick is to see the categories (health, beauty and wellness) through the eyes of the customer and to integrate your offerings as much as possible into a unique and easy-to-access customizable shopping experience – in store and online, ”Maehara told Grocery Dive in an email.

Citing data from Nielsen, Maehara noted that sales of health care and beauty in food, drugstore and mass stores rose 1.5% in 2018, while general merchandise overall declined by 1.6%.

Explore new opportunities

A new report from the performance marketing agency Merkle suggests that the tendency to experiential marketing which has paid off for retailers like Ulta Beauty and Sephora is now expanding to other channels. CVS partnership with Glamsquad, for example, allows customers to try different products before purchasing with the help of a Glamsquad member. HEB and ShopRite also have beauty consultants to work with clients.

“If you just have another aisle and don’t try to differentiate yourself or offer something extra, that won’t work.” said Ben-Shabat. “Some stores will have experts who really understand the products. And these people can help customers.”

Private label brands have been an area of ​​interest for grocers, and this often includes skincare selections. Indeed, products like facial cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen have a high level of loyalty, Ben-Shabat noted. When consumers find a product that is right for them, they often stick with it and are ready to take a special trip.


“If you just have another aisle and don’t try to differentiate yourself or offer something extra, that won’t work.”

Hana Ben Shabat

Beauty brand management consultant and consultant


Wegman deployed organic skincare line in 2015 and has been gradually expanding its selection of skin care products to include facial wipes, facial cleanser, body soap and more. The company has a health and beauty care section as well as end caps placed at the front of its stores to present all of its star brands as well as signage to disseminate sales.

Many retailers outside of the major players stop before offering private label beauty products. But that could change. Last month, Dollar General launched a new 140 SKU line of beauty products called Believe in beauty in 15,400 stores. The line includes foundation, lip and eye products priced at $ 5 or less, and was heavily promoted on Dollar General’s Instagram account.

From March, Albertson tested Beauty in a Blink boxes in select Jewel-Osco stores that included nine new and independent products like Hello and Bausch + Lomb’s cruelty-free toothpaste Lumify eye drops, as well as more common items including Simple, Dove, Maybelline and by Loreal Revitalift. The boxes were selling for $ 7. The retailer told Grocery Dive it was a trial run and the boxes were never restocked.

Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, has just launched new skin care products focused on clean ingredients. Its Ultra Hydrating Moisturizing Gel, priced at $ 9, has been compared to the popular premium cream La Mer, which sells for $ 175.

For grocers who want to get into private label beauty, Ben-shabat recommends getting into makeup or color cosmetics, which experience low loyalty and a high level of customer testing. TThey should also consider focusing on clean beauty, which is the biggest trend in the industry, she said.

Krishna Thakker

Ecommerce gives retailers more freedom to experiment

Bringing new beauty and personal care products to stores can be tricky and may require swapping out basic groceries. But Jacquelyn Cooley, market research analyst at 1010data, said e-commerce opens up the opportunity for grocers to experiment.

With the ‘endless aisle’, grocers don’t have to worry about limited storage space and can carry a wide range of products, ”she said. “They can tap into the luxury / high-end online space because the reward far outweighs the risk. . “

Cooley noted that getting consumers to increase their basket size while shopping for beauty and personal care items is the key to success in online grocery shopping. For example, in the beauty / hair care category last year, the grocery store recorded 7.5% of online sales, up from 4% in 2017, according to 1010 data.

Some online-only grocers like Thrive Market and Brandless have tapped into this market with the sale of makeup wipes, cleansers, lotions, and face creams. Most traditional chains have an e-commerce platform, and a few like Albertsons and Kroger have built direct-to-consumer markets.

Of course, Amazon dominates online sales, which has doubled its health and beauty products. According to eMarketer, Amazon’s health, personal care and beauty reached $ 16 billion in 2018, a 38% increase from 2017. The online retailer recently launched its new exclusive makeup line with scheduled Lady Gaga for Prime Day. It also has its own Belei private label skin care and recently launched a beauty store for professionals.


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