If you’re an entrepreneur, brand, or product-based business looking for tips on how to approach potential buyers, this article is a must read…
It’s time to stop scrolling through countless Google and YouTube searches leading you on a trail to outdated advice. The idea that pitching your products to retail buyers to get into stores is nearly impossible is simply not true! Retail is a language in itself, and all you need to do is study for you can pass the test. The most renowned and coveted beauty and fashion retailers are always searching for the new products to boost their bottom line.
Let’s dive into the top 5 tips that you need to get into retailers in 2022 and beyond…
TIP #1 Solve A Customer Pain Point.
Getting your products into retail store shelves will be primarily based on if your product solves a pain point of a customer. I have seen with many retailers over the last few years to provide more diversity of their products, to solve a growing number of customer concerns.
If you are in the process of coming up with a brand or a new product with retail on the brain, then, I would advise you to look over the company’s latest initiatives, this information can be found on the company website, as well as in the company’s official press releases either posted on their website or on press release sites such as Cision PR News Wire, Cision News Wire (Canada), Business Wire, and many more. Once you review the company initiatives you’ll have a better understanding of the type of brands and products they are looking to add to their store shelves.
Here is an example of a press release by Sephora on diversity and inclusive brands for Black-Owned Beauty & Wellness Brands and ULTA on Conscious Beauty at Ulta for clean beauty brands (no parabens, cruelty-free, vegan, and at least 50% sustainable packaging).
TIP #2 What Customer Do You Serve.
Make sure your brand serves your customers and the retailer has goals of servicing that customer too. It’s important to determine who your customer to properly communicate how your products aligns with their regional, national and online stores. This is important for your sales and marketing plan as the retailers marketing efforts or style should align with what also attracts your customers. Invest your time and money in getting some solid consumer and market data for the specific geographical area, including household spending, household size, educational level etc.
If you’re a new brand, the best route would be to go after regional store locations, and have a specific store or geographical area in mind. If you have product sales history, you can export the postal code data from previous purchases to determine where your ideal customers live. Once key advantage to selling your products online is you can prove that you have a customer base in the city or region that you are trying to get your products into. If you do not have prior sales, you can look into marketing analytics firms such as Environics that utilize customer spending behaviour in specific geographical areas by combining both credit card data, postal code and census information.
TIP #3 Media Coverage & Community
The truth is, retailers don’t want to onboard brands that don’t motivate their customers to shop – especially in stores. You may be having superb – or modest sales online, but if you have poor social media or no media coverage (ie. tv, radio) the retailer will question how great your product really is. Retailers want to stock brands who have engaging communities and can close to guarantee their customer base will love the product.
In recent years, we have seen numerous celebrity and influencer launches in beauty and fashion retailers without any previous unit sales. Often, many of the collaborations in the past were temporary with smaller displays, now we are seeing a trend in retail for permanent store displays, and instead pushing out new collections/expanding the product lines to keep their communities engaged. A beauty brand who does this remarkably well is HUDA Beauty, the cosmetics company and founder started on Facebook, marketing her products with beauty tutorials and now are in major retailers worldwide and seem to have a new palette, bronzer, and collection drop every month. Most recently, HUDA Beauty has been focusing on the billion-dollar fragrance market that has been projected to continue to boom.
The success transitioning from DTC (direct-to-consumer) to becoming a retail business, was largely due to their growing online community base and media coverage of their founders success. No one knows how many unit sales the company actually had sold back then, but it shows that media attention counts for something! That’s not to say sales don’t matter, but an engaged community early on can translate to success online and in-store!
TIP #4 Industry Leadership & Mission
Innovation leads to growth! Today, customers are buying not only products that solve their problems, but the brand that solves these problems the best. A brand positioned for retail success demonstrates leadership through research and development, personal experiences or client success stories and is educates the benefits of purchasing the products to use in the customers everyday life.
An example of thought leadership is a hair company called GIRL+HAIR founded by a dermatologist who sought out to find healthy products to care for her natural hair braided protective hair style. Based on personal frustration and medical knowledge she created a product line that maintains natural hair underneath hair extensions. The concept was the first of its kind on the market, UNDER HAIR CARE™ offers the most ideal hair care regimen for cleansing and protecting scalp and natural hair while wearing protective styles, i.e. weaves, braids or wigs.
The company mission comes into play to clarify to your audience that your company has a broader view in the industry. A company may sell products to solve a personal need, however the company also gives back to underrepresented communities.
TIP #5 Fulfillment & Distribution
You are responsible to coordinating wholesale shipments to all stores on the specific dates that are available for your brand to drop off your products. Once a huge barrier for smaller brands to expanding into retailers, fulfillment is now a struggle of the past. With many fulfillment options becoming available worldwide and across the United States, getting you products from a warehouse to retail store is easy. Drop shipping in the retail industry, has also created new channels for brands to sell online on retail marketplaces.
One of the easiest ways to get the attention of retailers is to sign up on a marketplace, such as Amazon or Walmart Marketplace. New market research has shown that 1/3 beauty products purchased will be fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) alone, statistics you cannot ignore! The sales data from products sold on a marketplace can prove market demand and that people are actually searching for it.
[ BONUS] TIP #6 Differentiate & Customize
Get specific about how your product differentiates itself from other brands within the same category. It’s important to include a chart or table that includes how your product stands out from others already sold. This could range from certifications, origins of product, ingredients and so much more. Depending on the retailer you are pitching to, make sure to also diversify the way you pitch match the personality of your retail or buyer contact.
[ BONUS] TIP #7 Supplier Agreements & Small Business Resources
When you’re ready to pitch to retail buyers from retailers such as Walmart, Sephora, ULTA, CVS, and more – make sure to review their Vendor/Supplier Agreements that can be found on the official company websites, here is an example of Macy’s Vendor Standards. If you are a food or beverage company, you can find a small business resource for how to here from Krogers, Getting Your Start in Retail.
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