- On Friday, H-E-B opened "Beauty by H-E-B," a full-service department inside one of its San Antonio locations, according to a press release.
- A pink runway leads customers to the nearly 4,000 square foot section designated for beauty products like color cosmetics, hair care, skincare and natural products. The retailer claims its product selection is highly curated with classic brands like Neutrogena and Dove as well as more upscale brands including Smashbox, Vichy, Pixi and La Roche-Posay.
- The section features mirrored testing stations where customers can try out products prior to purchasing. Digital screens showcase informational videos. The store has a team of beauty advisors on-hand who go through more than 100 hours of training and can assist customers in creating a personal care or skincare routine.
Beauty is an important category for H-E-B, and the company understands that service is key to converting sales in the category and becoming a destination on par with a specialty store like Ulta Beauty. H-E-B staffs beauty advisors at more than 170 stores stores tasked with helping shoppers find the right products and teaching them the latest styles and innovations.
The grocer's loyal customer base provides the foundation needed to launch a large, interactive beauty section. The section hits all the major keys to having a successful beauty business including product testing, knowledgeable staff and a spectacle that helps it stand out from the rest of its aisles.
"If you just have another aisle and don’t try to differentiate or offer something extra, it won't work." Hanna-Ben Shabat, a management consultant and advisor to beauty brands, recently told Grocery Dive
H-E-B will have its hands full competing for shopper dollars. Sales for beauty products are growing across all retail channels and have been on a steady increase since 2016, reaching nearly $80.3 billion in U.S. sales in 2019, according to Statista.
Albertsons, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Wegmans have all expanded their stock in the department and experimented with private label lines in recent months. In addition, drug stores like CVS and Walgreens as well as beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta are often top of mind for beauty and skincare.
H-E-B's new beauty department offers a wide range of selections and price points, but the grocery store may have a hard time selling high-end products like Stila and Becca, where prices can reach almost $50.
"You can't bring very expensive products to customers who are looking for lower prices,” said Ben-Shabat.