The Power of the Customer – CVS

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Ever wondered what motivates a retail store to sell specific products? Even after deciding on what products to sell, what makes the retail stores to always make constant changes in the way they offer their services with time. Well, the answer lies within the customers.

A customer is any organization or a person who buys services and goods from a business such as a retail store. This means the retail stores have to adjust their policies to cater for the constantly changing tastes and preferences of the customers. They have to adjust in a bid to satisfy their customers in order to make money out of their business.

Let’s make a case study out of one of the latest occurrences in the retail business. This is the renown retail store CVS. The retail store CVS announced a plan to remove known toxic chemicals from their popular beauty products.

The retail shop CVS pledged to make a decision that would make their green beauty product loving customers happy. In a bid to make its products “green”, it has announced a plan to terminate the use of harmful chemicals in their beauty products. In a statement to the press, the retail chain has said that it will be removing all products containing the harmful toxins like phthalates, and also the most common, formaldehyde contributors from CVS store-brand beauty products. These products include Essence of Beauty, CVS health, blade lines and Beauty 360. However, some products such as the Promise organic line currently in stores do not contain these harmful toxins.

Choices for skin cream at a CVS drugstore, Boston, MA

But how do these chemicals affect humans? Well, let us get a little understanding of these chemicals and how to identify them.

Formaldehyde donors:

These are chemicals which either release formaldehyde or have formaldehyde in them. Formaldehyde is a well-known carcinogenic substance. It was mainly used to make personal care products such as baby soaps and some shampoos to help avert the growth of microbes from growing in these products. When absorbed by the skin, these products cause allergic reactions and ultimately lead to a high risk of cancer.

You can easily identify them from labels with names such as Formaldehyde, DMDM Hydantoin, quaternium-15, Diazolidinyl Urea,imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate polyoxymethylene urea.


Just like formaldehyde parabens are used as preservatives in a wide range of beauty and personal care products. They are also to prevent the growth of certain microorganisms in these products. They have been proved to be endocrine-disrupting substances which can easily enter the body through absorption through the skin.

Parabens can be identified easily especially in lotions, makeup, shampoos, facial, conditioners, shower cleansers and scrubs. CVS has specifically terminated the use of chemicals such as Heptylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, methylparaben, isobutyl paraben and butylparaben.


Phthalates just like formaldehyde and parabens have been associated with reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, and cancer.

Phthalates can be found in personal care and beauty products and especially in products which contain the ingredient ‘perfume’ or ‘fragrance’.

The new policy by the retailer is set to take effect come 2019. This will see the termination of use of up to 600 products, apart from non-in-house beauty products.

Why the sudden change?

I am sure by now you might be wondering what motivated the sudden change of policy by the retail store CVS. And I did too. According to Cia Tucci, the Vice President of the store’s quality assurance and brands at CVS health, it all comes down to listening to needs and suggestions from their loyal customer reviews and surveys conducted by the retail store. “We listened when customers voiced their desire for products that still provide the benefits they need with fewer ingredients of concern,” She said, “Today’s announcement is a natural step in the evolution of our comprehensive approach to chemical safety.” She added that “We completed extensive consumer research, and these were the ingredients our customers were most concerned about. We embarked on an extensive process to ensure we could maintain product efficacy while removing these ingredients.”

Having engaged a third party to help understand the needs of the customers via various social media platforms among other forms of surveys intended to understand customers and their level of satisfaction with their products.

It is therefore evident that customers really do have a great influence on what a retail store sell and the quality of the services offered by the store. The customer has the power to change the policies of the retail stores. A big retail store can be brought down by the dissatisfaction of its customers especially in terms of the quality of product and the effects the products they sell have on the customers’ health.

Are you getting value for your money at your favorite store?

Do you give honest feedback to your favorite store?

How often do you give your store feedback to help them adjust to satisfy your wishes?

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