Superdrug gets more experiential as lockdown easing starts

Jun 16, 2020
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Superdrug is preparing for the new retail environment and said this week that post-pandemic it aims to become even more experiential and increase the services it offers.

A.S. Watson

The chain has been able to operate throughout the lockdown due to it selling essential goods, but had seen footfall drops and was reportedly seeking rent deals as a result. Yet lockdown has also had its positive side and it said that its online operations have seen a boost with 25 million new visitors since store closures began in March. 

And it’s particularly interesting that in the last month, it has seen a 39% sales uplift in cosmetics. CEO Peter Macnab called out this rise in customer demand for its beauty categories, which it hadn’t been restocking at the height of the pandemic. Back then, retailers generally said ‘frivolous’ categories like fashion and beauty were very far from consumers’ priority lists.

But Macnab said that the recent 39% sales rise means “our beauty shoppers are craving a return of the non-essential shopping experience”.

He also said “customers have told us that they are looking for beauty experiences, trends and deals, so we are also focusing heavily on how we can make shopping more enjoyable, through both atmosphere and value”.

The company launched a giant ‘buy one get one free’ promotion across all cosmetics on May 30 as the start of its Makeover Your Summer campaign, which will also see a series of influencers helping the retailer “to create looks with affordable cosmetics that customers can re-create at-home”.

This month, customers will be entertained in-store by Superdrug Radio and the podcast series, The Beauty of it All, will return with a series of guest presenters and celebrities. And Health & Beautycard holders will be the focus during Treat Week when “their loyalty will be rewarded with a series of exclusive promotions”.

Next month, Beauty Studio by Superdrug will be reopening in line with salon guidelines “with a streamlined treatment menu and a focus on express treatments to allow additional time for cleaning”. Superdrug will be offering customers “trend-led treatments as well as continued at-home care advice for those customers who are still isolating or unable to get to store”.

Given the rise in its online sales, it’s no surprise that digital will play a key role in the future, with a focus on increased distribution, expansion plans for the store-to-door courier service and innovation on the website.

As part of this, it’s introducing up to 30 ‘night stores’ to boost order delivery and meet increased customer demand. This expansion will be key for important customer events such as Black Friday and Christmas.
And after its launch, the Store-to-Door courier service will be rolled out more widely this year, aiming to at least double the service that’s currently available from 300 stores. A bespoke, same-day Christmas gift delivery service will also launch.

And in a further nod to its focus on experiences, the retailer is launching a series of finder tools this month, including a skincare advisor, vitamin finder, gift finder for Father’s Day and a make-up mirror for virtual cosmetics try-ons in the absence of product testers.

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