NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 9, 2015) - Drug stores are always looking to drive more traffic to the front of the store and boost sales of higher-margin items. Upping their game on beauty is one way to accomplish both objectives, writes Todd Maute, a partner at brand agency CBX, in the August 24th issue of Chain Drug Review.

"National chain drug stores could position themselves as category killers that steal customers from department stores and other beauty mainstays," Maute writes. "To accomplish this, however, they must redesign their approach to beauty marketing, branding, merchandising, service and even store design to give the area a more fashion-forward feel."

In the column ("Drug Chains Can Own Beauty with Elevated Offerings") Maute cites the ongoing efforts of chains such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid to ramp up the sophistication of their beauty aisles. These efforts are for the most part on point, the veteran branding consultant comments, but the overall strategy should be to make the beauty aisle a true destination for beauty shoppers. "Even women of limited means are often willing to drive to Macy's, Nordstrom, Sephora or Saks to splurge on cosmetics," he observes. "What they're after is the experience of being catered to in a sumptuous, high-service environment. Drug stores need to offer something similar if they hope to compete in this category."

Drug chains need to ramp up the general impression of service as well, Maute says. "That could mean bringing in a cosmetologist for occasional product demonstrations, 'makeover days,' classes or other events," he notes, "or pointing to the fact that pharmacy personnel can answer questions about how certain products -- or even supplements and food -- can affect sensitive skin."

Marketing and branding should reinforce this expert angle. The chain's social media presence, for instance, could include a cosmetologist blogger whose posts are more about answering legitimate consumer questions than pitching products, Maute writes.

Moreover, chains could focus harder on elevating the design of the beauty aisle itself. "At many drug stores today, the beauty aisles look much the same as those in which consumers might buy such mundane items as school supplies," Maute writes. "But what if, upon reaching the beauty area, women were to discover a visual feast of colorful and neatly arranged cosmetics along the lines of Sephora? What if the beauty aisles at chain drug stores were packed with unique and differentiated brands arrayed for maximum visual appeal?"

Maute adds that "the approach could be integrated and omni-channel -- right down to automated, replacements of mascara or other items populated as favorites via an iPhone app. You get a text telling you that your replacement item is ready for pickup, along with a coupon or two."

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About CBX
CBX specializes in creative marketing services including: branding, retail design, packaging and naming. The company, with its current staff of more than 130 employees, was founded in 2003 and has a client base that includes: Dr Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Big Heart Pet Brands, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Shinsegae, Walgreens and Wawa. In addition to its New York City Headquarters, CBX has offices in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Austin.

Note to media: Todd Maute is available as an expert resource for your articles on marketing and merchandising of branded and private label consumer products.