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The World of Walmart

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | October 21, 2010

Conference delves into the secrets of America�s favorite superstore.

With hordes of consumers constantly flocking to Walmart's ever-expanding beauty shelves, no one in the personal care industry (or anywhere else) can afford to ignore the king of retailers. Therefore, the retail giant was the topic of the HBA Marketing and Technical Conference, "Walmart and the Consumer."
Industry insiders delivered the inside scoop about who is shopping at Walmart and why. Alisa Marie Beyer, president of The Benchmarking Company, presented the results of the landmark survey, "Women and Walmart."
The vice president and divisional merchandise manager of beauty at Walmart, Carmen Bauza, was present to talk shop about the company itself. Bauza was integral in revamping the beauty department's merchandising to include grouping products as well as incorporating "shelf talkers" and EZ Face technology. Laurie Kahn of DNA Public Relations, the marketing representative for Hard Candy, was also on board to discuss the brand's successful partnering with the superstore. Its re-launch included new packaging, new formulas and several new beauty products.
“One hundred and fifty million people a week shop at Walmart,” noted Beyer. “That has a big impact on the beauty industry.”
Statistics show that 90% of Americans live within 15 miles of Walmart, which may explain why 91% of respondents said they shop there, and 50% of them shop at the store on a weekly basis, according to the TBC survey.
What’s more, 90% of women enjoy shopping at Walmart. In fact, 70% of women tell others they shop there, and 22% tell others they shop there because they look smart for buying name brands at lower prices.
So, what keeps them coming back for more? Bauza of Walmart knows the answer.
Covergirl liners are big at Walmart
“Engaging her with more of what she likes,” she told the crowd. “After all, personal care is essential, but beauty is an impulse buy.”
Bauza presented “before and after” photos of the revamped merchandising at Walmart stores nationally. More than 4,000 locations were transformed for a new look and feel.
Significant changes were made to the merchandising, according to Bauza. Products were all grouped by function (i.e. all lipsticks and mascaras in one section) and proximity (body lotions placed close to body washes for after-shower care). EZ Face technology lets shoppers upload photos and virtually “try” products to see what the colors actually look like on before committing to purchase. And, men’s care sections are being tested in more than 800 Walmart stores for “me moments” in the rising male grooming category.
Hard Candy was happy to jump on board at Walmart. The one-time department store brand with a cult following debuted in Wal-Mart stores in 2009. Its re-launch included new packaging, new formulas and several new beauty products such as a lipgloss, glitter body spray and crème eyeshadow. The brand’s signature nail polish line offered a value version at just $5 with the same trademark complementary plastic ring.
“We wanted to keep the allure of being a prestige brand, but also offer the fun of experimenting at a great price,” said Kahn.
Sounds like the Walmart way.
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