February 5 2024  |  Industry News

Starboard Cruise Services shakes up beauty assortment

By Alison Farrington

Sherrie Day, Global Head of Merchandising for Starboard Cruise Services

It’s all change for Starboard’s beauty, health & wellness category as the minority-owned LVMH company - which recently became part of a joint venture with Global Travel Retail Holdings - rethinks its beauty assortment in line with a much more ‘savvy’ customer and industry shift towards diversification. The retailer counts cruise operators such as Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Virgin as partners.

The pandemic was an opportunity to pause and take a long hard look at the process of curating beauty for multiple cruise partners, according to Global Head of Merchandising Sherrie Day. “We took a deep dive into understanding the demographics and the guests that we have on board. We wanted to make sure that we were speaking to and answering all their needs. We looked at beauty and how beauty was exposed to them. In the pre-Covid era a lot of the brands were driving marketing, putting beauty in front of the guests and defining what that really meant.

“But now our guests are so savvy, we wanted to make sure that we could create an environment and deliver an assortment that met everyone where they were. So, it meant diversification; it meant inclusion; it meant thinking outside of the box holistically about what our overall offering would be."

The pandemic was an opportunity to pause and take a long hard look at the process of curating beauty for multiple cruise partners

Assessing assortments

Starboard’s ‘Beauty for All’ strategy moves on from the retailer’s previous “one note approach” that offered key brands for the color and skincare verticals, according to Day.

Now inside-out beauty and being relevant to diverse groups are the driving forces. “We want to provide assortment that answers and speaks to everyone; not just women, not just older women, but diversity from ethnicity. We want to be relevant for men, for women, for Gen Z, and we want to speak to them from the inside and the outside. So, it's hair care, skin solutions, color diversity in makeup offerings. It's meeting everyone where they're at and making sure we have something that's relevant for their needs. It's more of a personalized approach to beauty versus a one-swipe approach, which is where we had been in the past.”

Day says it’s been a process of peeling back the layers, to curate beauty very differently and make sure that it's relevant from one cruise line to the next and in different parts of the world.

For example, with Virgin, the sky was the limit. Their mantra is about diversity and inclusion, explains Day. So that’s ensuring MAC, Chanel, Dior and JLo Beauty are fully optimized.

Olaplex is an exclusive brand partner boosting Starboard’s hair care offer for multiple cruise partners

Experience spaces

Starboard’s focus on discovery brands and representing a diverse mix of guests also leans into more experience spaces, says Day. “Experience is the absolute differentiating factor with Beauty For All and it goes far beyond just putting product on the shelf. When we choose our products, we're always looking at it through the lens of ‘how we can make sure that the guest has time to experience it in a personalized way?’

Starboard’s approach is a program of daily activations. “There's something special every day that engages our guests with the product. Whether it's coming in to the store to do fragrance finds – combining the top tones of fragrances with the top notes of drinks and then creating a VIP experience – or skincare solutions within smaller groups, we can spend some time sharing talking about it, building their interests and creating elevated experiences.”

Influencer economy

Where, when and why beauty brands emerge for different consumers is changing the marketplace says Day. “A huge part of the way brands emerge is coming from the influence of social media. We are reimagining floor plans on all of our ships to have a discovery zone right when you walk in, so that allows us to rotate new and upcoming brands. Brands like Kylie, relevant to Gen Z, or brands that may be relevant to women who are between the ages of 50 and 60. New brands are emerging on a continuous basis and so we're giving ourselves the opportunity to introduce them to our guests on board and to have some first-at-sea experiences. This approach allows us to be a lot more agile.

“We're also working on doing pop-ups, where we can bring the full experience of the brand to life. It might be only for limited time, but it will give us and the brand, an introduction to cruise; then we can make that a personal discovery experience, and if it works, we can start to scale.”

Kylie is an important brand partner redefining Starboard’s Gen Z beauty offer on board Virgin ships


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