Q&A: CVS' George Coleman discusses new Essence of Beauty online, mobile efforts

Looking to further strengthen its relationship with beauty shoppers — both inside and outside of the store — CVS/pharmacy launched on Aug. 2 a new website and mobile site dedicated to its growing Essence of Beauty brand, which is available exclusively at CVS/pharmacy. Drug Store News talked with George Coleman, VP merchandising for store brands at CVS/pharmacy, to learn more about the unique content featured on the new essenceofbeauty.com site and how the retailer is adjusting its in-store merchandising strategy to further promote its Essence of Beauty collection.

 

DSN: Tell us about the launch of the new Essence of Beauty web site and its importance.

George Coleman: Since its launch, Essence of Beauty has consistently been one of our top-selling brands.  In fact, last year it was the No. 1 fragrance and body care line at CVS/pharmacy, selling twice as many units as the second-most popular brand. The new Fine Fragrance collection offers a point of differentiation for us, with distinct, master-crafted fragrances that you can’t find anywhere else. The website was designed to help our customers learn about the new scent options and identify the fragrance that’s best suited for them within an easy to navigate, brand-specific experience. Since we’ve found that once a shopper identifies the Essence of Beauty fragrance that works best for her, she will incorporate other formulations in the line to her repertoire of products.

DSN: What is especially unique about the site?

Coleman: The Essence of Beauty web site launches on Aug. 2, offering CVS/pharmacy shoppers further insight into the collection’s development, and the master perfumers' inspiration behind each of the new fragrances. The new site will include in-depth interviews with the perfumers, a scent finder, online-only deals, and even downloadable wallpapers for desktops and tablets inspired by our custom fragrances. The scent finder helps customers to select a scent based on the notes or olfactory family that appeals to them, such as “floral” or “gourmand.” On the finder, all of the fragrances will be categorized by scent family, with detailed descriptions of each note, allowing shoppers to find the right Essence of Beauty collection based on their fragrance preferences.

DSN: Prior to the launch of the dedicated site, tell us about the online availability of EOB products.

Coleman: First launched in 2002 to meet consumer needs for a unique but accessible fragranced bath and body care brand, the Essence of Beauty line began with 40 products and now includes more than 100 SKUs, including fragrance, body care and pampering bath accessories. In 2009, Essence of Beauty products became available for purchase on CVS.com. With the launch of the new dedicated website, Essence of Beauty shoppers will have even greater access to the line with the convenience of online shopping. 
 
DSN: Why launch a dedicated site now? What prompted the move?

Coleman: With the increase of multichannel shoppers, we are finding ways to offer more compelling content online to better meet their needs. By partnering with master perfumers, who have crafted luxury fragrances for some of the best fashion houses in the world, to develop our Essence of Beauty line, we were able to create distinctive fragrance blends for our customers. The dedicated site is a vehicle to share the insights of these master perfumers and other tools to help customers enjoy a more in-depth exploration of the line. 

DSN: How will CVS work to promote and drive traffic to the new site and promote the newest EOB products?

Coleman: In the coming months, CVS/pharmacy will work to promote and drive traffic to the new site through special offers in our circulars and CVS/pharmacy dedicated emails, in-store displays that invite customers to “Explore and Discover” at essenceofbeauty.com, and exclusive promotions on the CVS/pharmacy Beauty Club Facebook page.  Within the website, special content has been developed and is dedicated to the new scent additions, Secret Woods, Forever Paris, In the Tropics and Wind Kissed. Additionally, we introduced the new Essence of Beauty Fine Fragrance collection to beauty editors in June, and the line was very well-received, so we are anticipating good consumer press.

DSN: Will CVS be further leveraging technology to reach the shopper while she’s in the store for a more omnichannel shopping experience?

Coleman: Yes. Also launching on Aug. 2, the dedicated mobile site will offer select content — like the master perfumer videos — that are easily accessible while shopping in-store to further aid in product exploration and scent selection. This is the first time that CVS/pharmacy has created a mobile site for one of our exclusive brands, and CVS/pharmacy will continue to build out other omnichannel functionalities in the future.

DSN: In terms of in-store merchandising, how will these new EOB products be merchandised? What will be new?

Coleman: Fragrance is at the heart of this collection and we’ve found that once a shopper identifies her fragrance, she will naturally gravitate towards additional formulations. Thus, we’ve adjusted our merchandising strategy, and for the first time, all of the Fine Fragrance body mists will be merchandised together in store, with ancillary products grouped by scents throughout the display. These new displays will highlight the sophisticated new packaging design and enable testing. Moving forward, all stores will have tester products available to try the new Fine Fragrance Body Mists, and an Essence of Beauty Tester Bar will be available in more than 2,000 stores.
 
DSN: Now that there’s a dedicated site and new products slated to hit shelves, what’s next for EOB?

Coleman: We are currently looking to expand on the new Shea Indulgence Shea Butter Treatment line. Staying true to the Essence of Beauty intent, we will continue to refresh the collection with a steady rotation of new fragrances to keep the scent portfolio current and on trend.