CVS Focuses on Expanded Health, Beauty Offerings, Store Experience

Many CVS Pharmacy customers may soon walk into their neighborhood pharmacy and find it almost unrecognizable. The online and brick-and-mortar retailer is upping its game among competing health and beauty retailers, adding more on-trend and “healthier” beauty options, a broader selection of vitamins and supplements, and what it’s calling better-for-you food options; not to mention an upgraded store design, featuring digital signage and an enhanced customer experience.

The new, health-focused formats have 100 feet of new merchandise in health, beauty and healthier food, and use a streamlined layout to highlight themes that make shopping easier. "Discovery zones" in key health categories provide a holistic approach to care and product selections, and customers are guided by informational signage with guidance to make finding the right solution easier.

"Pharmacy is the heart of our business, and our focus on providing care to patients and customers defines everything we do in our stores," said Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health. "Our new retail offerings leverage our deep expertise in health to enhance our customers' shopping experience. The same guiding principles that led to the removal of tobacco from our stores extend to our commitment to deliver the most innovative health and beauty solutions." 

The new store formats and deeper focus on expanded health, healthier food and beauty assortments are key elements of the next phase of the retailer’s front-store growth strategy, which was first introduced in 2015. It will be rolling out to as many as 70 new and existing stores in 2017, with plans to expand to several hundred more in 2018. And currently, more than 800 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide use the retailers’ new elevated design and assortment, and more than 3,400 offer the expanded food and beauty offerings.

In beauty, CVS Pharmacy has added "on-trend" beauty brands, such as Wunder2 and Tigi Cosmetics, in addition to products that have greater skin health benefits and more natural ingredients. A trend wall has been added to 2,000 stores, featuring new launches and niche brands. And a beauty discovery zone highlights on-the-go options at checkout. In April, an exclusive Korean Beauty selection curated by K-Beauty expert, Alicia Yoon, is available in more than 2,100 locations.

Concerning health offerings, the stores are featuring a broader selection of vitamins and supplements, such as Irwin Naturals and New Chapter, as well as nutrition products such as Vega and Naturade protein powders, as well as Navitas Organics Superfood Mix Ins. Assortments tied to emerging areas, such as connected health, sleep/mood and immunity are merchandised in discovery zones that offer holistic solutions and easy navigation through educational displays.

Furthering its commitment to health, CVS is also planning to have all parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors in products within a variety of the store’s brands removed by the end of 2019. It intends to require third-party testing of ingredient listings for vitamins and supplements, as well as product testing for certain ingredients of concern, all implemented by 2019. Among its better-for-you food updates, products that fit nutritional and dietary preferences—heart healthy, good source of protein, gluten free, sugar free, organic and non-GMO project verified—are highlighted with shelf tags. In the summer of 2017, the tags will expand into non-food categories, making it easier for customers to make purposeful choices throughout the store. And the store recently removed all suncare products with SPF lower than 15 from its shelves, while expanding products with SPF 30/broad spectrum, natural beauty brands and products focused on skin health.

Of course, a millennial store upgrade wouldn’t be complete without digital updates, so the retailer has made changes to its mobile experience and ExtraCare Rewards program, offering more ways for customers to order products online and pick them up with CVS Curbside, pay seamlessly via CVS Pay in the app, and manage their ExtraBucks Rewards, personalized deals, and use manufacturer coupons, all from their phone.

"We did a lot of research to understand how to best serve our customers as we began to re-imagine our store experience, and we found that people are thinking about their health differently and taking a more proactive approach to staying well," said Judy Sansone, senior vice president of front-store business and chief merchant. "With that in mind, we crafted a new shopping journey, all in the name of better health."