Amidst the burgeoning size and scope of the beauty industry, an opportunity exists to improve on the lack of personalized shopping experience. The highly fragmented industry characterized by thousands of different products has led to consumer confusion about product selection. Although magazines and blogs offer product recommendations, this advice is highly generalized, making it difficult for consumers to know what products really work without spending money.
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation’s new beauty store business, Murale, attempts to address this gap. With its retail value proposition focused on selection and experience, I believe that it is well positioned to succeed in the marketplace. Let me explain why.
Compared to other beauty retailers, Murale excels in the experience dimension. While Sephora offers product recommendations, Murale leads the way as the first retailer to offer personalized consultation services via a trained skin care team. This novel experience appears to follow the latest trend towards customized beauty solutions offered by manufacturers (such as Procter and Gamble’s OlayForYou campaign), as companies attempt to simplify and influence the purchase process by helping consumers identify which products are best suited for their needs. Murale’s complimentary service is one that will surely be valued by consumers, who can now purchase with confidence that their money was spent on the right products.
Murale strives to differentiate its retail assortment by playing in niche segments (such as dermatology). Within specialty categories, it has debuted lines which have never been available in Canada, with some even being the first in North America. These retailer exclusive products force consumers to visit the store to make the purchase, thereby increasing traffic and expanding the average basket size. To further the success of its current product portfolio, I believe that Murale would benefit from the addition of a private label business. By introducing an affordable alternative, Murale will be able to improve its bottom line by capturing more price conscious consumers. As well, the presence of successful private labels (such as Sephora’s house brand) has proven to be invaluable in fostering store loyalty, as consumers know that the brand is only available at one retailer. Murale may also benefit from gaining a presence in the green and organic beauty products category, to address the growing emphasis on health conscious and environmentally friendly options. Any combination of these new business opportunities will help advance Murale’s position in the marketplace.
Recently, Shoppers has also focused on expanding the beauty sections in their existing drug stores. With Murale’s entry, Shoppers must identify methods to reduce cannibalization between the two businesses. Shoppers may be well served to scale back its focus on the high end beauty segment in the drug stores operating in the same regions as Murale.
As the industry grows more sophisticated, retailers must become more creative in their offerings. Murale is one example of how the beauty industry can keep evolving to provide its consumers with fresh and exciting products or services. Watch out Sephora – Murale is here to stay!
http://www.beautycare.com/newspro/archive/arc10-2000.html, Volume.com launches
http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/cnw/article.jsp?content=20081107_094502_4_cnw_cnwShoppers Drug Mart Corporation opens first Murale store in Ottawa
http://www.cnw.ca/en/releases/archive/September2008/02/c7606.html, Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation reveals details of a beauty masterpiece: Murale(TM)
http://www.murale.ca/brands.html, Murale website