Q&A: Upscale retail

Christina Hennington, Target

In this exclusive interview with Drug Store News, Christina Hennington, divisional merchandising manager of beauty for Target, talks about the hottest trends in beauty and how Target is taking beauty to the next level.


DSN: What are some of the biggest trends you are seeing in beauty?


Christina Hennington: Much like last season, this fall a wide-ranging nail assortment continues to be one of the hottest trends in beauty. From vibrant shades by Pixi to python print polish strips from Sally Hansen, the nail category continues to be one of the fastest growing for Target. Skin care is also another area of importance for Target, as we see trends among BB creams, facial cleansing tools and tone-correcting skin care solutions. To continue to answer the increased demand for natural and organic options, Target is continually expanding its beauty aisles to include product lines from premiere natural and organic brands like Yes To and Burt’s Bees.


DSN: With the recently launched Beauty Concierge program test, how did Target select which stores would participate in the program pilot?


Hennington: The Beauty Concierge program is a test, and it launched on July 15 in 28 Chicago-area Target stores. Target continually tests new in-store experiences and programs in order to gather insights that we can use to enhance our guests’ experience. The Chicago area was selected because of its various store formats and guest populations. 


DSN: Tell me about the program and what it entails.


Hennington: The concierges are dressed in all-black uniforms with an apron identifying them as a Target Beauty Concierge. They will also wear 
nametags and have a mirror, a product sample box and an iPad. Concierges are available for approximately 40 hours each week to provide guests with detailed information about products in the beauty and personal care aisles. The goal of each concierge is to help educate shoppers and offer unbiased information.


DSN: What is the future plan for the program?


Hennington: There are currently 14 concierges at the 28 Target stores. The concierge program will be tested for about nine months in Chicago before we can decide whether or not to expand it to several hundred stores across the country.


DSN: What spurred the decision to develop the program?


Hennington: Target created the Beauty Concierge program to build upon the cohesive guest experience the beauty department redesign provides. It also adds comprehensive education and recommendation components that many of our guests want and expect while shopping beauty, and allows Target to offer more specialty/prestige brands that require deeper product knowledge.


DSN: In what other ways is Target revamping its beauty departments? 


Hennington: To ensure we’re making good on our promise to provide guests with a unique, differentiated shopping experience, we constantly reinvent ourselves through innovation and experimentation to remain relevant in this ever-changing retail environment. On a continual basis, Target strives to deliver a best-in-class shopping experience for our guests by revamping the beauty department. This will elevate the bar and continue to distinguish us from competitors. The Beauty Concierge program is a perfect example of this elevation. By integrating a premium service with our in-store environment, we deliver on the “Expect More” and “Pay Less” portions of our brand promise. We’ve also redesigned our bath and body aisle to provide Target guests with products like the recently launched Scent Bar and an atmosphere that evokes a pampering experience where they can treat themselves to well-designed, on-trend beauty products at a great price. Specific changes in this aisle include colorful, image-driven signage, testers ... and updated assortments to focus on scents, product benefits and well-designed packaging.

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