In the tech world, there was a time when the hot topic was mobile and all VCs were asking founders, "What's your mobile strategy?". That apparently has now moved onto Artificial Intelligence with VCs asking, "What's your AI strategy?". These things had become so integral in the tech world that it's become a baseline question.
The beauty equivalent can be said to be Korean beauty. It's been a busy month or so of K-Beauty related announcements and with Target the latest big retailer to adopt K-Beauty, every retailer with a beauty department will need to have a K-Beauty strategy. Retail executives should be asking their beauty buyers, "What's your Korean beauty strategy?", and I hope they have an answer.
With most departments struggling and the stratification between winners and losers in the retail world becoming clearer and clearer, many retailers have decided to put more emphasis on the all important beauty section. High margins, great for attracting foot traffic, the beauty section is getting more attention with the addition of some Korean beauty brands and concepts - in a small way.
Sephora, Opening Ceremony, Nordstrom, Macy's, Target, and potentially Bloomingdales all have their fingers on the pulse of beauty trends and have embraced Korean beauty in different ways. Some, like Macy's, Sephora, and Target, have opted for partnerships with existing retailers. Others like Ulta and Opening Ceremony are just retailing their preferred brands and skus. Whatever the approach, it's becoming very clear that to remain on trend in the beauty world, retailers need to figure out how to incorporate a Korean beauty point of view into their merchandising.
Whether they take Korean-inspired trends like sheet masks, modeling masks, and cushion compacts and curate Western equivalents OR directly curate and merchandise Korean brands and products, each beauty department will need to make sure they have a point of view on how to incorporate this growing trend.
So, to all beauty buyers and merchandisers - what's your K-Beauty strategy?