Beauty retailer gives new products a store-within-a-store of their own
Luxury beauty retailer Cos Bar is launching a section within its stores to experiment with new brands that might play well with its customers.
The initiative, called Cos Bar Lab, includes an in-store display, which is being rolled out at six of the chain’s 20 stores, according to Glossy. The displays will highlight three to five brands at a time that the retailer otherwise does not stock. Cos Bar Labs is beginning with a few essential oil, hair care and “clean” beauty brands. It also has plans to experiment with products in other categories, such as home and wellness. Brands proven successful on a case-by-case basis will be rolled out to all of the chain’s stores. Cos Bar will is also adding a new section to its website specifically dedicated to Cos Bar Labs products.
The Cos Bar Labs experiment comes after a successful store-within-a-store partnership with Banana Republic.
Cos Bar, which has been around since 1976, has faced a new wave of competition in recent years as more affordable beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta have arrived on the scene.
As of 2017, the retailer was promoting its high-end customer service offerings as its prime differentiator, according to Forbes. The chain’s locations are reputed to be a destination for celebrities in search of specific high-end beauty brands. Founder Lily Garfield has gone as far to say that it is not “prestige” that draws its customers, but “luxury.”
Retailers in other spaces have taken similar steps to test out new products outside of their core assortment in stores. Macy’s, for instance, not only partnered with turnkey retail solution b8ta to bring an assortment of maker-created products to Macy’s shelves, but acquired a minor stake in the software platform.
Ace Hardware likewise acquired The Grommet in 2017, an online company that allows inventors and entrepreneurs to bring quirky tech products to market. The acquisition came after Ace experienced success with “Innovation Incubator” displays featuring a rotating selection of products from the Grommet in some of its stores.
- Cos Bar to launch Cos Bar Labs, a test bed for new brands and categories – Glossy
- Macy’s takes stake in retail-as-a-service tech firm – RetailWire
- Is Ace on-brand with Grommet acquisition? – RetailWire
- Cos Bar Uses This One Essential Strategy To Compete With Mass Retailers Ulta And Sephora – Forbes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is an initiative like Cos Bar Labs a good way for retail chains to experiment with new products before deciding to roll them out on a wider basis? What might the advantages be vs. rolling out new products alongside the rest of the product assortment?