You’ve created a product…now, how do you get it on shelf?

By Liz Webster – retail beauty guru.

Calling all beauty product entrepreneurs…have you created the world’s most amazing beauty product that will make those who use it look twenty years younger and twenty kilos lighter? Well, let me at it. Now!
Only kidding of course, but huge congratulations to you! Now, after all the blood, sweat and tears of your creation coming to life, how do you get it into the hands of the consumer? This is where the next stage of the hard work begins, convincing a retailer to stock your product.

The world of retail has changed so much in the last ten years, let alone the last twelve months, so how and where do you start? Before you even consider knocking on the door of a prospective retailer, have you thought about where your brand/product is positioned in a brand hierarchy?

Liz Webster continues her esprit series in ‘getting retail ready’ with some brand self-analysis. Here she guides you through some questions to ask yourself when considering which channel is the best fit for your product and provokes further thought in the pre-retail process.

Here are some questions to ask yourself?

1. What’s the positioning of a brand? Is it prestige, “masstige“, or a mass product? (love the word “masstige” and is, as it sounds, sitting between prestige and mass).
2. Who is the customer?
3. Does your product address specific customer or retailer concerns or can anyone use it?
4. Does it need someone to sell it or can it be a “self select” purchase?

But without even answering those questions, let’s start with the two channels that you can control and set up yourself before you even hit prospective retailers; firstly, your own
e-comm through your website and secondly, your social media channels.

Of course, if you haven’t already, get yourself a “snazzy” website. There are so many cost-effective ways of doing this, but my #1 rule is to make sure it’s easily shoppable. Your own e-comm should be your first retail channel, and if you do this right, it will always be your most profitable channel. Outside of the financial advantage, your own e-comm will allow you to build a customer database, giving you invaluable insight into your customer, be able to have a conversation with them, and very importantly, target them again for future purchases.

The rise and rise of social media as a method of selling product has never been easier. Both Facebook and Instagram are strong retail channels and should be a “no brainer” as part of your retail mix. Instagram as a retail channel can’t be ignored. Did you know that 70% of millennials buy straight off Instagram? Let’s be honest, why wouldn’t you, if you love something you’ve seen as you’re scrolling through your feed. It makes it so easy for a prospective customer. They click through, straight to your website and before you know it, you’ve made a sale!

So where to after you’ve got control of your own channels? It is time to decide where your product or brand sits in a hierarchy, as it will determine which retailer you approach.

If you have a prestige brand/product, then you start with department stores, like Myer and David Jones and upmarket beauty retailers like Mecca and Sephora. Whilst department stores are facing some challenges, the beauty floors are still strong retail destinations. Specialty beauty retail is in growth in Australia and they’re taking significant share of the beauty dollar, so if your brand is prestige or “masstige”, go for it.
A tip for you; you can’t go into mass market retailers or pharmacy and then work your way back up. Most prestige retailers won’t stock you if you’re in channels that they deem sit below them in the product hierarchy.

If you’re “masstige”, or mass, then pharmacy is the channel for you, especially the big pharmacy chains, like Priceline, TerryWhite Chemmart and Chemist Warehouse, who each have significant beauty destinations. The pharmacy retailers are also a great channel if you have created a product that addresses specific concerns; e.g. sensitive or problem skin issues. Customers with these concerns will be directed to a pharmacy for a solution to their problem. Discount department stores and supermarkets are also very strong channels for beauty, especially if you have created a product that is mass market. Supermarkets receive the highest foot traffic weekly, so being able to secure a grocery retailer can be a significant win for your brand.

Some other channels to consider are service retailers like beauty therapy salons, hairdressers, small boutiques and even injectable clinics. All service retailers are trying to add value to the customer with the view to win their loyalty, so offering relevant product to complement the service is another way of capturing the customer’s loyalty and wallet.

Pure play e-comm retailers are another way to target the beauty customer and Australia’s longest running online beauty store, Adore Beauty stocks everything from prestige to mass.

Finally, the most important point to remember is that whichever retail channel you choose to pursue, you will be given targets to achieve to justify your position on the retailer’s shelf or on their website, so the hard work begins again to achieve those targets. Good luck!

About Liz Webster

Liz Webster is an experienced senior retail executive who has been General Manager Merchandise at API, owner of Priceline and Group General Manager Cosmetics, Footwear & Accessories and Intimate Apparel at Myer.
Prior to retail, Liz had a long and successful career in media, making her knowledge of brands and how to market them to the consumer is unique. At both Myer and Priceline, Liz has been involved in securing many brands and knows very well what it takes to launch them successfully.
Featuring in each of esprit Magazine’s BUSINESS section, Liz will share her tips and tricks to ensure you’re prepped and ready to present your brand to retailers from pitch to execution in store and beyond.

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