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JCPenney Beauty’s AI- and Inclusivity-Driven Expansion

Published September 27, 2022
Published September 27, 2022

In 2021, JCPenney and Thirteen Lune partnered to create a shop-in-shop experience consisting of 30 brands created by founders of color and allies across skincare, haircare, and other product categories. The partnership was Thirteen Lune's first entry into brick-and-mortar, designed to inspire the discovery of beauty brands created by Black and Brown founders that resonate with people from all backgrounds. Continuing their journey into inclusive beauty this year, JCPenney has announced expansion plans for JCPenney Beauty, which initially debuted in October of last year. The expansion begins with an initial 300 stores offering JCPenney Beauty by early 2023, with an increase to 600 stores by the spring. Now, the company is adding an AI-powered tool, courtesy of Revieve, to its enterprises in order to strengthen consumer-brand dynamics and offer more tailored product recommendations.

The rollout of JCPenney Beauty is a commitment to fostering diversity within the industry through a hyper-inclusive assortment of products, and comes after the end of their Sephora partnership in 2022. JCPenney has partnered with AI brand Revieve to offer consumers an online AI Skincare Advisor and AR makeup try-on technologies to hyper-personalize the consumer shopping experience to provide customized beauty products for everyone.

Over 250 unique and diverse brands covering skincare, haircare, salon services, and wellness will be on offer. This is a double increase in JCPenney’s assortment from last fall, including 65 BIPOC-founded and ally brands such as EleVen by Venus Williams, Mintty Makeup, NCLA Beauty, and Vamigas. The rollout has been powered by a collaboration with Landing International, a technology company serving minority-owned beauty brands to provide a national platform for entrepreneurial beauty founders and brands. Landing International’s B2B technology not only helps retailers find suitable brands based on specific ingredient and sustainability criteria, but also provides training tools for in-store staff.

"The majority of the brands carried by Thirteen Lune at JCPenney Beauty are smaller, indie lines, and to have this level of support and marketing is tremendous for their exposure and growth. The evolution of our partnership has been instrumental in this and is just getting stronger. JCPenney has been key in scaling our business and our mission, which is an invaluable aspect of this partnership. They are ensuring their diverse customer base is seen and served, and that is perfectly aligned with how we have built Thirteen Lune," Nyakio Grieco, co-founder of Thirteen Lune, tells BeautyMatter.

Within JCPenney Beauty spaces, several new services are being offered to ensure every customer finds what they're looking for, from products to salon services. To do so, JCPenney is training 3,000 dedicated beauty associates and 5,000 stylists with knowledge of products and beauty needs for different skin tones, hair textures, and more. For those seeking in-store hair treatments, JCPenney Salon is also introducing Olaplex services. JCPenney Beauty’s initiatives will go beyond the shelf, with the retailer creating partnerships that benefit local communities, such as a project with the nonprofit organization HairToStay to generate awareness and help fund hair-preserving and scalp-cooling treatments for low-income cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

“JCPenney exists to celebrate and serve America's diverse, working families, which is why we are leading the charge to foster beauty inclusivity nationally."
By Michelle Wlazlo, Chief Merchandising Officer, JCPenney

The new measures to keep customers at the heart of JCPenney's vision do not stop at their store expansion. The retailer recently announced entry into the artificial intelligence side of beauty, working closely with Revieve, who previously partnered with beauty brands Duolab and Living Proof. The collaboration sees JCPenney launch a collection of digital makeup and skincare experiences that will strengthen customer relationships with the brand in innovative ways. "We want to be the shopping destination of choice, offering a personalized approach that fully celebrates and honors them as unique individuals," says Michelle Wlazlo, Chief Merchandising Officer at JCPenney.

JCPenney's Skincare Advisor will leverage Revieve's proprietary Skin Diagnostics technology and AI-powered product recommendations for a seamless, end-to-end experience that will allow consumers to find a personalized skincare routine. Visitors to the JCPenney website can receive an in-depth skincare analysis and customized product recommendations by uploading a selfie and answering a questionnaire about their skin type and concerns. Revieve's proprietary Skin Diagnostics technology will then analyze more than 120 skin metrics to offer users suitable items and skincare education tailored to their needs.

"We are delighted to be partnering with JCPenney—one of the only department chains in the US to bet on personalization and simultaneously launch new digital experiences in two beauty categories," says Sampo Parkkinen, CEO and founder, Revieve. "We are honored to support JCPenney customers in finding the right makeup products and skincare routine tailored to their skin type and preferences, further strengthening JCPenney's position as a one-stop destination for all its consumers' diverse and unique needs."

The partnership comes at a time when many brands and retailers are embracing AI and AR technology. Parkkinen believes that offering customers these services is the best way to keep up with current consumer demands. "AI/AR is just the beginning of the future of retail; we're seeing more and more industries recognize the potential of new technology fostering deeper relationships through virtual community building/engagement, exclusive product offerings, and loyalty reward programs," he continues.

To ensure a successful collaboration, Reveive educated themselves on JCPenney's unique curation of cosmetics and skincare brands, and their varied customer base. To achieve this, the implementation team at Revieve built strong relationships with the retailer’s digital engineering team. The partnership stayed true to the pair's desire to make sure everyone involved was catered to, from their team to their consumers.

“Our partnership with Revieve helps us provide our customers with a customizable beauty experience that can be personalized based on their specific wants and needs. Leveraging Revieve's proprietary virtual makeup try-on and skincare assessments, our customers can easily discover brands and products that work for them regardless of age, gender, skin tone, beauty regimen, or budget," Wlazlo comments.

The efforts to broaden JCPenney’s beauty horizons are just the beginning of the retailer’s mission to cater to its broad customer community. “JCPenney exists to celebrate and serve America's diverse, working families, which is why we are leading the charge to foster beauty inclusivity nationally. This also means investing in innovations and technologies that benefit our customers and ensure a hyper-personalized beauty experience,” she concludes.


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