Walmart took the subscription beauty box trend and turned it into a limited-time offering.
The mass merchant this spring introduced one-time-purchase beauty boxes that contain a mix of mini- and full-size products, rolling out a limited number of the boxes to 3,000 stores and online. Priced at under $10 each, the Walmart Beauty "Favorites" bundles each boast $20-$40 worth of product.
The boxes are organized by themes, spanning:
- Latest in Lips, with products from brands TPG Growth's e.l.f., Milani, L'Oreal's flagship and Maybelline, Hard Candy, and Revlon.
- Time for Eyes, with products from e.l.f., Coty's CoverGirl, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon's Almay and Kiss Products' flagship.
- Glow for It, with products from Hatchbeauty Products' Found, CoverGirl, Milani, Markwins Beauty Products' Wet n Wild and Hard Candy.
- Refresh Renew Extend, with products from Church & Dwight Co.'s Batiste, Inspired Beauty Brands' Hask, L'Oreal, P&G's Herbal Essences, Unilever's Nexxus, Vogue International's OGX and Henkel's Schwarzkopf.
- Influenced by Nature, with products from Browne Drug Co.'s Palmer's, L'Oreal's Garnier, Hask, Renpure, and Unilever's Love Beauty and Planet.
- Love My Curls, with products from Hask, Kao USA's John Frieda, Namaste Laboratories' Curls Unleashed, Sundial Brands' Shea Moisture, Unilever's Tresemme and Vogue International's Maui Moisture.
At launch, Walmart stocked the boxes on a four-way in the beauty department. Online, all of the boxes are currently out of stock except Love My Curls. The retailer promoted the boxes as "new" and "only at Walmart" in a feature in its April 27 circular. Beauty magazines and bloggers supported, oftentimes using the #WalmartBeauty hashtag.
The one-time-purchase boxes are separate from the $5 quarterly Beauty Box subscription Walmart offers via brandShare. The partners also offer subscriptions to a men's grooming box and a baby box, as well as e-commerce sampling.
Several rival retailers have also recently stepped up their beauty offerings. Target this year launched its first-ever exclusive fragrance line, expanded its beauty assortment and rolled out themed beauty boxes of its own. It also is testing a digital tool that lets target.com shoppers virtually try on cosmetics.
CVS/pharmacy is putting in place new standards for photo alterations, launched an advertising campaign focusing on "real-life" beauty, updated its ExtraCare Beauty Club, and just launched an exclusive K-beauty line.
Meanwhile, Family Dollar has expanded its cosmetics selection, Walgreens continually engages its registered Beauty Enthusiasts via email, Whole Foods stages a "Beauty Week" sale every spring and Kroger runs seasonal "Beauty Events." Luxury beauty is also one of the fastest-growing product groups on Amazon, up 47% from 2016 to 2017.