Posted: Mon 1st Aug 2016
Lily Child, beauty innovation buying manager for retail giant Boots, offers insight in to what she looks for in new suppliers and offers top tips on pitching.
What do you look for in small business suppliers?
1. Knowledge and passion
A great business supplier to Boots, no matter what their size, is passionate about their products! They know their product and consumer inside out. They understand the full landscape in which they will be operating, and where their offering sits amongst the competition.
In order to compete in a busy market place, smaller brands must have something unique about them. Whether that be a fantastic new claim, stand out branding or packaging, an amazing new active ingredient or an innovative new technology, there must be something that stands you apart from the rest.
3. Marketing know-how
It is often the case that small business suppliers tend to have smaller budgets. This means that they need to be really savvy with their marketing. How will their product or brand have a voice within the total market? Do they understand how social media will play a part in their launch and what other low cost, high impact marketing or PR plans have they got to drive awareness and most importantly, sales?
Are there any categories you're particularly interested in at the moment?
Personalisation is a key trend for us, and we're seeing this come alive and grow through so many different categories. Whether that be through our photo and gifting offering, engraving of fragrances bottles at Christmas, even through personalised hair care where consumers can chose the base, fragrance and added benefits to create their own perfect blend of shampoo! We're interested to see brands that have the knowledge and technology to translate this trend into a retail offering and how we can offer our customers more choice than ever that is personalised specifically for them.
We are also interested in beauty trends from afar! The Asian influence on Beauty as a whole is huge; hair oils, facial oils and new cleansing formats have all come from the Far East. Some suppliers have done a really great job at adapting and marketing these to a UK customer. There is a greater awareness of the Japanese and Koreans being beauty innovators and we're looking for more brands that really leverage their authenticity. We launched a fantastic Korean mask through our Beauty Finds at Boots which customers loved, and now we're looking for the next big thing!
What are your top tips for entrepreneurs pitching to Boots buyers?
Be confident and show passion for your brand; if you don't love it, neither will we! Excite us about the brand so far, and what you've achieved. Is it listed elsewhere? If so, what sales have you seen through other doors?
Tell us why you think these products will be a great fit for Boots and our customers. Do they fill a need we don't currently accommodate for, or are they a better price point making them more accessible? Take this opportunity to wow us with your knowledge of the consumer and Boots.
Explain how and to what extent this will drive revenue and profit within Boots. Consider your competition here and the productivity of your shelf space. What are the plans for the brand in the future?
This post was originally published in 2016.
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