On Wednesday, skin-care brand Kiehl’s will start offering services at its 80 standalone stores in the U.S., in a bid to differentiate what is available at its wholesale partners.
L’Oréal-owned Kiehl’s has historically provided complimentary skin-care consultations and a basic 15-minute hydrating facial to all shoppers, but it will now offer three tiers of 20-minute facials to customers who make a purchase of at least $65, $85 or $125.
“We believe the store is the heart of our brand, because that’s how the brand started. We want to give customers something unique and different,” said Ginny Wright, Kiehl’s U.S. brand president. “Our overall retail strategy is to be connected to our customers through value, exclusive services and products.”
Kiehl’s play makes sense, considering department stores have been investing in beauty services to drive foot traffic and combat the rise of easy online shopping. In New York City alone, since 2018, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus have all introduced facials and blowouts to entice customers to their respective locations.
In its third-quarter earnings in October 2019, L’Oréal said its Luxe division, which includes Kiehl’s, experienced a 13% year-over-year sales increase. Wright declined to disclose the brand’s wholesale versus direct-to-consumer sales. Kiehl’s customers are 61% women and 39% men.
Kiehl’s first tested the three services in a December pilot to understand its customers’ skin concerns and their reception to the new facials, and see what skin-care topics they discussed with Kiehl’s sales associates. The three facials address sensitive or acne-prone skin, hydration and anti-aging. The anti-aging facial uses devices by Clarisonic, another L’Oréal-owned brand, but Kiehl’s will not sell them in-store. Customers have the option of booking their facial at a later time following a purchase, and Kiehl’s will launch an online booking service in the spring to offer convenience and an omnichannel experience.
“By positioning our stores as a [place for] services, we believe it’s the next step as to how you experience beauty,” she said.
The additional services coincide with other standalone store initiatives including the rollout of Kiehl’s “Healthy Skin Hub” assessment and the introduction of a licensed aesthetician into every door in 2020. Skin Hub consists of an in-person consultation with a Kiehl’s sales associate through an iPad, with results emailed to customers. At an undetermined time in 2020, Kiehl’s will add a facial device to the consultation that measures skin hydration.