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Consumers’ desire for engagement evident as Target expands Beauty Concierge program

BY Antoinette Alexander

Following a successful test run last summer, Target has announced the expansion of its Beauty Concierge program to nearly 100 stores in three metro areas across the country — making the program now available in nearly 300 Target locations nationwide.

Why is this important? Customers want an experience when shopping. And getting customers more engaged in product and experience with "brand-agnostic experts" is a safe bet.

This is also clearly in line with Target’s formula to serving its guests — simplicity plus connectedness equals engagement. This formula is at the core of Target’s strategy, touching and shaping every aspect of its business, including beauty.

The program was originally tested in the Chicago market last summer and subsequently launched at stores in Los Angeles, Washington, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Orange County, Calif., and northern Virginia. Now it has been implemented at stores in New York and New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Beauty mavens are obviously responding favorably to having a specially trained beauty concierge help them navigate the sea of beauty and personal care products that line the shelves. But the program’s success really comes as little surprise, especially when you consider the findings of a recent survey by Experticity.

As previously reported by Drug Store News, the study of 600 U.S. consumers showed that consumers value sales associate expertise above all else, but found that consumers often find such expertise lacking.

When asked by Experticity to rate the services consumers most desire and value from retail sales associates, the top four were:

  • Product knowledge (73%);

  • Help selecting the correct product (71%);
  • Category knowledge (69%);
  • and 
Help finding alternatives when the first choice is not available (68%).

Clearly, consumers want retail to play a hands-on role with their buying decisions and beauty is the ideal playground. Beauty shoppers, in particular, love to be engaged and experiment with the latest and greatest in shades, potions and lotions.

And it is important to note that Target isn’t alone in its endeavor. Several mass-market retailers are taking steps to further enhance the shopping experience in beauty, which includes staffing its stores with beauty advisers. For example, Walgreens has more than 26,000 beauty advisers across its network, and CVS/pharmacy also has some beauty advisers in its locations across the country.

 

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Reports: Tops Friendly Markets management buys chain from Morgan Stanley Capital Partners

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The management team of Tops Friendly Markets has purchased the chain from the private equity firm that owned it, according to published reports.

The Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle reported Friday that Tops CEO Frank Curci and five other executives were buying the chain from Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, which has owned the chain since 2007. Tops operates 155 stores in upstate New York, western Vermont and northern Pennsylvania under the Tops, Grand Union and Bryant’s banners.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it is expected to close by the end of this year, but it will not affect the management of the stores, the Democrat & Chronicle reported. Spokeswoman Katie McKenna told the newspaper that Morgan Stanley had been "very supportive" of Tops over the last five years, during which the chain has doubled its number of stores and increased its geographic footprint.

 

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Target donates $100,000 to typhoon-relief efforts in the Philippines

BY Alaric DeArment

MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp. is donating $100,000 to relief efforts in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, the mass merchandise retailer said.

Target said it would make the donation to Save the Children, which is working in affected areas to provide support.

"We are deeply saddened by the devastation in the Philippines," Target president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. "We hope our donation to Save the Children will provide critical resources and relief to children and families in the Philippines as they recover from Typhoon Haiyan."

The Associated Press reported Friday that the death toll in the Philippines from the typhoon – the western Pacific equivalent of a hurricane – had risen to 3,621, far surpassing the 2,500 forecasted earlier this week by Philippine president Benigno Aquino III, while hundreds of thousands have been left homeless.

 

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