Liz Webster's Guide to Getting into Retail
Congratulations! You’ve spent months and even years and countless dollars developing a beauty product. It might be just one product or even a whole range, but to you, it’s your baby, you love it and it’s now time for others to love it too!!
That means it’s time to get in front of a retailer who too, will fall in love with your product and range it.
So where do you start? There’s some basics that you need to tick off before you even go anywhere near a retailer. Let’s break it down into four key areas for your consideration.
- Have you defined the target customer and does that match the retailer or retailers you’re interested in pitching to?
- Is there a gap available for your range or do you sit as part of a competitive set?
- If you have other competitors, what makes your range unique?
- This is where your brand’s story comes into the picture.
- What is your story and how are you going to tell it? Below the line, above the line, bloggers/vloggers or maybe even a brand ambassador.
- What does your website look like? This is where you are in total control of your brand DNA. So important!!
- Are you selling online? What’s your rate of sale and what’s the feedback like from your e-comm customers?
- What other retail channels have you considered?
- What does your marketing plan look like?
- Have you set a marketing budget?
- Does your plan fit with how the retailer markets?
- All retailers have 360º marketing strategies and so should you!
- Whilst you don’t need to participate in all the retailer’s marketing, it’s important to be part of most of their marketing plans.
- If they love catalogues and you don’t, then you will struggle to be successful in your pitch?
- You will need to be aligned to achieve their support.
PRODUCT & PACKAGING
- If successful, can you supply enough product to meet the retailer’s demands?
- What’s the packaging like? In many ways the packaging is its own point of sale and everything from colour to size to shape are what draws the customer in.
- Is the branding strong and message easy to read and understand?
- Is the packaging secure but not impossible to open?
- Is the packaging environmentally friendly? This is increasingly a consideration when customers make purchasing decisions.
- Sustainability is high on their radar.
- How does the product merchandise on shelf; horizontally or vertically and can the sales team easily and quickly get the product out of boxes and on shelves?
- Do you have all the appropriate barcodes and pricing?
- Can you meet the requirements of how the retailer needs it to be delivered either direct to store or through their distribution centres?
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT FINANCIALS
- Do you understand the retailer’s trading terms?
- Do you know what margin they operate at?
- How much do they promote?
- Can you support those markdowns?
- What about all the other allowances that make up trading terms? They can be anything from ranging, to marketing to merchandising to DC (distribution centre) allowances. All come together to make up a percentage that is the cost of doing business with the retailer
- Have you developed a pricing strategy?
- How does it fit with the retailer’s margin expectations?
- What does success look like?
- What should your rate of sale be?
- More importantly, how does it fit with your profit expectations?
- Can you meet all the retailer’s financial expectations and still make a profit? THAT IS CRUCIAL FOR YOU!
So now that you’ve considered all of this, it’s time to put together your powerpoint in preparation for your presentation. You don’t need to have all the answers to all the questions, but you do need to be prepared that the Buyer will ask many of these questions and they will expect you to be prepared.
In my next article, I’ll focus on
what you need to prepare for the presentation to the Buying Team and how you can ensure you will stand out. Good luck!
About Liz Webster
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 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 through 2018, 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.