Tips on Launching Your Beauty Brand to Retailers

The beauty business is clearly changing. The retail business is clearly changing. But the importance of the buyer is not changing—and knowing what is important to each retailer is critical to your success.

The buyer for any retailer, whether brick and mortar, online, department store or specialty store, has a huge and important job. Buyers cultivate interesting and relevant assortments, help move the product both online and in-store and represent their employer’s business and the sales and profits related to that. What many do not realize, is that it is very much a financial position, where they need to really know the data: sales, profitability, stock turn, gross margin planning, etc.

Buyers are tasked with sales goals, profit goals, stock turn, and SKU counts. They need to know and develop plans including marketing and store design, HR and staffing, special events and experiences.” —Barbara Zinn Moore

They are constantly pursuing brands and being pursued by brands. They consistently look for brands to fill in holes in their assortments. For beauty brands targeting a particular retailer, it is imperative that you do your homework. It is critically important that once you have the appointment, that you, as the brand, do your homework to know what is important to that retailer.

10 Steps to Pitch Your Beauty Brand to the Retailer of your choice

Let’s take Ulta as an example. You believe your beauty brand would excel with this retailer, and you want to present to them. What are the 10 steps required to do that?

  1. Identifying
    Identify and be sure you meet with the proper buyer. If your beauty brand is Prestige facial treatment, you do not want to meet with the sun-care buyer. Make sure you are talking to the correct person, and if by chance you are not, ask for a referral to the appropriate person.
  2. Do Your Homework
    Know the retailer you are speaking to. Study them: Learn their stores, their brand mix, and their selling proposition.
  3. Presenting
    Ensure your presentation speaks the language of the retailer you are pitching. Every retail company has their own distinct DNA, and it is essential that you have some knowledge of it. With the internet and social media so dominant, this is much easier than ever.
  4. Customize
    your presentation to that retailer. As an example, it is widely reported that Ulta has a very robust and hugely important Loyalty program with over 28 million Loyalty members. Ensure that you have a program that will enable you to participate in their Loyalty program with specific member-only programs.
  5. Study
    Ensure You Study the retailer’s online presence. In the case of Ulta, they have many online-only promotions. Ensure that you, too, have a proposal for at least one to two online-only programs to ensure you are covering what will be important to the Ulta buyer.

  1. Be Flexible
     When you study Ulta.com, you will see some online-only brands. Have a proposal to launch online-only first, with a rollout plan pending sales.
  2. Buyers Love Exclusivity
    Depending on where you are in your brand’s lifecycle, launching exclusively OR with a 30 or 60 day lead time will absolutely set you apart during the presentation. If this is not possible, consider an SKU or a color or a set that will be at Ulta only, for a period of time.
  3. Don’t Leave Out Your Story
     Storytelling is critically important, and your brand’s story is why you have the appointment. Make it interesting and compelling. It does not and should not take an hour. But why and how you founded your brand is critically important to engage the buyer and get her excited. Stories sell and customers love them!
  4. Remember That Buyers are Also Financial Analysts
    They study numbers and data hourly and daily. They know SKU count, markup, COG, gross margin, net profit, etc. Be sure you can speak about your brand’s finances, as well as your story. Be sure you have a proposal for Ulta that encompasses in-store presentation, online presentation, training, marketing, and digital.
  5. Be Open and Honest About Your Capabilities
    If you produce 1000 units/month, it will be difficult to fulfill an opening order of 5,000 units. Be honest about what it will take you to get to that point. It is infinitely better to discuss this upfront than to get an order you cannot fill.

Doing your homework, studying the retailer, and engaging the buyer with an interesting, creative, but focused and specific business proposal for your brand, is critically important to successfully get your product into the retailer.

Want to learn more tips and gain more insight on how to prepare when launching your brand? You can reserve your ticket now for the conference hosted by Cosmoprof North America with Barbara Zinn Moore as the speaker, offering an enlightening session titled: Win Shelf Space: An Insider’s View From A Department Store Veteran. Get unfiltered insights from a well-respected department store veteran exec who’ll touch upon all key points you should be well versed on; no detail will be left out.

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Article by: Barbara Zinn Moore, Global Beauty, Fashion & Home Retail Executive/Merchandising & Digital Marketing Leadership/Team & Brand Development, Barbara Zinn Moore Associates

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