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05-15-12 | Posted by

You’re in the driver’s seat and beauty companies know it. At a recent symposium sponsored by The Fashion Group International, beauty executives described the ever evolving retail economy, social media universe and consumer values, and the quick lane switching they must follow to keep up. The presentation entitled, “Changing Lanes: New Model, New Distribution, New Beauty World,” took place on May 2, 2012 at the New York Hilton.

“We are losing control of our communication,” stated Mike Indursky, president of spa-product brand Bliss, referring to the power of social media and its viral potential. “There are millions of options to choose from” when choosing a media outlet to reach consumers.

Peter Lichtenthal, president of hair-product company, Bumble and bumble, described giving away free blow outs to consumers in order to engage them in the brand. Anyone who purchased a Bumble and bumble product at Sephora was invited to get a free consultation and free blow dry at affiliated salons throughout the country.

With all the online options for purchase, brick-and-mortar stores have to be incredibly attuned to customer expectations. “At Nordstrom, we’re focused on customer-centric service and products,” stated Laurie Black, general merchandising manager and executive vice president of cosmetics at Nordstrom. One thing that consumers have declared loud and clear is the need to sample products before purchase.

Thinking outside the box to attract customers has become the norm rather than the challenge in our highly competitive retail atmosphere. StriVectin, an anti-aging skincare brand, began life as an anti-stretch mark cream – but was refocused to target aging concerns. Today, it is handled as a multi-channel brand – sold at QVC, Costco, department stores and online. The reason? “That’s where the consumer is,” explained Jill Scalamandre, chief marketing officer of Chrysallis, StriVectin’s parent company.

About a decade ago, most beauty executives believed that shoppers never would purchase beauty products online, particularly not fragrance. Today, 1 in 4 women has purchased fragrance online and 1 in 5 has purchased cosmetics through online retailers, stated Elaine D’Farley, beauty director of Self magazine. The retail environment, led by consumer demands and social media innovation, is evolving at a meteoric pace, and BITB can’t wait to see what happens next.

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