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Sephora’s in-store technology addresses customers’ skin concerns

BY Antoinette Alexander

Beauty retailer Sephora launched in September the new Sephora Skincare iQ, which has been dubbed as the "most comprehensive in-store technology" to make addressing skin care concerns easier than ever before.

By using the touch-screen technology that is available at select Sephora locations, consumers can — in 60 seconds or less — address a range of skin concerns through a series of deductive questions. It simplifies the product selection process by cross-referencing Sephora’s full skin care assortment across more than 1,200 SKUs and 60 brands.

Skincare iQ addresses the top 10 skin concerns most commonly discussed in-store and on Beauty Talk, the retailer’s social beauty site. Users can choose up to two concerns to address in one session, including pores, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and uneven tone, dryness, oiliness, dullness and uneven texture, firmness and elasticity, acne or blemishes, redness and eyes. Based on the selections, the program will ask additional questions to address concerns before producing product recommendations. From there, users can sort by price, rating, best sellers and relevance, as well as jump to other categories, including cleansers, treatments and moisturizers.

Clients also can browse new product launches, top sellers and search by brand, product type or product name, as well as email themselves their wish list for reference.

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CVS taps into trend with debut of nail HQ kiosk

BY Antoinette Alexander

Looking to further tap into the high-growth nail category, CVS/pharmacy unveiled in late 2012 its Nail HQ Kiosk. The Nail HQ Kiosk is available at more than 2,000 CVS/pharmacy locations.

The stand-alone display serves as a platform to showcase the latest gel nail technology at mass with new products from SensatioNail and Sally Hansen. Nail HQ also features an array of new shade options and enables shoppers to view polish shades outside of the bottles through nail color strip displays. The CVS/pharmacy exclusive Nuance Salma Hayek line, which was developed in partnership with actress Salma Hayek, introduced a 32-SKU nail lacquer collection, and nail brand Essie is launching its newest collections at the Nail HQ every month.

The initiative comes as no surprise given the continued growth in nail care. The retailer has stated that its support for the category stemmed from a 40% increase in nail care sales since 2011 and annual double-digit growth every year since 2008.

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Walgreens’ Look Boutique gives beauty section a makeover

BY Antoinette Alexander

Nestled in Washington, D.C.’s, Chinatown is the recently opened Walgreens flagship store. The store, which marks the retailer’s seventh Walgreens flagship location, features a "Walgreens" sign with Mandarin and Chinese characters that translate as "pharmacy," and its interior beauty department — better known as a Look Boutique — is among the most impressive yet.

With wrought-iron signage that is fashioned after the White House entrance gate, the Look Boutique is home to the second full-line display of Alliance Boots’ No7 — a top-selling brand in the United Kingdom for face, lip and eye makeup. The first is in Walgreens’ Los Angeles flagship store, and the fixtures are the same as what is presented to shoppers in the U.K. market, but with special items developed for the United States.

In addition, specially trained beauty advisers are on hand to help shoppers with their beauty needs, and a Walgreens’ Nail Bar offers professional manicures with the latest on-trend shades. There’s also a brow bar that offers expert shaping and grooming services.

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