Whole Foods hosts first-ever ‘Beauty Week’

Discussion
Mar 23, 2015

Whole Foods Market kicked off its inaugural "Beauty Week," Mar. 18 through 24, "to celebrate all things beauty related."

Whole Body departments are hosting events, classes, demonstrations and promotions to inform shoppers about Whole Foods Market’s selection of personal care products and cosmetics "that support healthy people and a healthy planet."

All Whole Foods Market locations began offering a limited edition "Hello, Beauty!" bag for $18 (valued at $60), on Saturday, Mar. 21. Bags are made with 100 percent cotton recycled saris from RIJI Green, a business committed to ending human trafficking. Each beauty bag is filled with six exclusive samples, including a scrub, facial mask, repair shampoo, eye shadow or lipstick, moisturizing cream and mascara, plus $5 in beauty coupons.

From Mar. 20 to 22, shoppers also saved 25 percent on all facial care items at Whole Foods.

"One thing that really sets us apart in the beauty industry is our standards," said Maren Giuliano, executive global Whole Body coordinator, in a statement. "Our shoppers know and trust us because we have baseline standards that prohibit 50 ingredients in the products we sell, along with our top-tier standards, called Premium Body Care. When we first launched our premium standards in 2008, we had about 400 products that were certified — now we have more than 4,000."

Whole Foods noted that in 2012 it was named "the leading national retailer" in personal care product safety by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. In 2014, it was the runner-up in the Sustainable Beauty Awards’ "Sustainable Leadership" category. Whole Foods also offers organic labeling on personal care products although no mandatory government standards for the "organic" label claims exist on body care products.

Drug store chains and Target with its Beauty Concierge program have been more aggressively pursuing the beauty category in recent years, but most grocers have not.

Tesco in recent years has rolled nail and hair salons as part of a greater investment in its beauty counters, subsequently landing upscale brands such as L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and Clinique. In late February, Tesco launched the UK’s first one-to-one Online Beauty Consultations using Google + Hangouts. Free, confidential 15-20 minute consultations are available via video link to beauty, make-up, skincare and hair bloggers and experts.

Is the health & wellness trend opening up a bigger opportunity for the beauty category in supermarkets? Does Whole Food’s “Beauty Week” program and beauty push make sense for the upscale grocer?

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10 Comments on "Whole Foods hosts first-ever ‘Beauty Week’"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

With retailer category lines being blurred, it makes sense for retailers to borrow ideas from each other to drive sales. Whole Foods has a reputation for organic, local products. Why shouldn’t they exploit this point of differentiation to drive sales? Taking a tactic from department stores of offering a specially-priced bundle of products will lure consumers into the stores and drive them to the health and wellness sections. Smart move.

Dick Seesel
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Whole Foods has always been a pioneer in devoting space to beauty products that are treated as HBA commodities in most other food stores. The assortment of merchandise is consistent with the brand positioning of the rest of the store—unique products, often with an “organic” story to tell.

Staging a Beauty Week event takes Whole Foods to another level, even if the initial aim is simply to build awareness of the category among non-regular shoppers. It will be tougher for other grocery retailers to follow suit in a big way, since most of their HBA space is devoted to tightly edited offerings meant to compete with discounters and drug chains.

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Absolutely, this is a great idea! People are in grocery stores more often than any other store, and what better time to remind them about these products?

The Beauty Week idea is great, but they can take this online. They should have regular webinars.

Tom Redd
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

As people age the beauty thing is a challenge to everyone’s personal vanity—but huge for some and not much for others. Beauty Week makes sense for Whole Foods, as they have a unique kind of customer who really thinks all natural stuff is going to make a difference in their lives. The only difference it really makes for them personally (in most cases) is that is costs them more. For Whole Foods and other retailers it is a huge pile of profit.  Some people understand that the only way to be impacted by some of the “un-natural” ingredients that Whole Foods does not allow is to eat it or use it in impossible quantities.

Marketing and margins are the core reasoning behind most of this all-natural stuff. I myself am not contributing to those margins, and Gillette shave cream or Barbasol are not “natural” and I am not saving the world with each can I buy—but it works, they offer nice coupons and I am still healthy.

James Tenser
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Beauty Week may get some nice traction with certain core Whole Foods shoppers, but as regulars, my wife and I routinely avoid the personal care aisles, which are so perfumed as to risk respiratory distress.

Putting the “Whole Foodskeeping” seal of approval on personal care formulations is a commendable policy. Many shoppers care deeply about pure and cruelty-free ingredients, and this will provide peace of mind. Efficacy is another matter when shoppers are contemplating a relatively high-ticket purchase of a brand they may not recognize. Beauty Week presents an opportunity to make those brands feel more familiar and reliable.

It gets a little more complex when sensitivities and allergies enter the picture. Could “fragrance-free” become the new “gluten-free”?

Kai Clarke
Guest
7 years 1 month ago

Yes, the health and wellness trend is a huge opportunity for supermarkets to increase their share of market, wallet and customers. Leveraging this growth into updating and better emphasizing their beauty category, would be the smart choice for any supermarket (not just whole foods).

Marc Millstein
Guest
Marc Millstein
7 years 1 month ago

It makes perfect sense. Whole Foods caters to a clientele seeking not only quality, but also merchandising presentation, consciously or otherwise. And they have disposable income for the finer foods in life. Not over the top, but Whole Foods is higher end. Sounds like the exactly right market base for expanded testing in the health, wellness and even beauty products to me. Whole food also is a boutique-like store, not a supermarket or target. Totally different.
A strong expanded product merchandising and special events tie in with health and wellness seems nearly inevitable. We live in the age of very strong brand extensions and merchandising tie-ins.

I have no idea how much legs the program will have—no pun intended. Sometimes these things take off for an extended period and reveal major new opportunities. Other times not. But totally fitting for them to push forward and try to expand in this way.

Graeme McVie
Guest
Graeme McVie
7 years 1 month ago

As grocers continue to face intense pressure to deliver meaningful and differentiated shopping experiences in a margin-squeezed marketplace, the time to use customer data to its fullest has never been more pressing. But we should not consider big data only in terms of fixing an issue. Shopper data holds enormous upside as evidenced by the fact that a 2014 survey by LoyaltyOne of US consumers showed that 80% are looking for retailers to use customer data to decide which products and services they should consider offering and/or eliminating.

Keeping this in mind—yes, health and wellness can certainly open up an untapped opportunity for the beauty category in supermarkets, if that is a relevant category/service for the grocer’s core customer segment. It’s essential to start with customer analytics to understand customers and determine their needs (e.g. life stage, healthy, time-starved, high cooking aptitude, etc.), their current and potential value by category and what they respond to.

Michael P. Schall
Guest
Michael P. Schall
7 years 1 month ago

This makes perfect sense for Whole Foods Market. So much so that one of the newer stores (Boston Ink Block) has a fantastic spa right inside the store. So, Beauty Week is an extension of where Whole Foods has been and continues to effectively penetrate. Whole Foods is committed to their customer’s every passion and they’re passionate about it too—much more than just an upscale grocer. It’s really a strategic competitive advantage in my opinion. Delighting the customer is what it’s all about

Laura Davis-Taylor
Guest
Laura Davis-Taylor
7 years 1 month ago

This makes a lot of sense, but given Whole Foods’ brand position and what they stand for, I’d love to see them go to the next level with education about why they choose the products that they do and the impact some of the unnatural product lines have on the environment, your body and the world. There are some amazing books out there that really dig into not just how the chemicals can affect you, but how they can combine to cause a multiplier effect. They are in a great spot to curate this kind of information to make it easier for people to learn about (if they choose to do so) and to also tell some of the unique, interesting stories behind some of their product lines.

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