July 16-22 marks Independent Retailer Week! Here, the WIN Lab has collaborated with four savvy entrepreneurs to get their advice on everything from opening up shop to helping their retail partners sell. Because finding the right retailer(s) can sometimes feel like dating: exciting, exhausting, misleading but is also worth the work and the wait. Click here to see the four-part series.
Aisling Organic Cosmetics CEO, Krysta Lewis, launched her beauty brand in 2016 after being sick for years and discovering that her cosmetics were one of the culprits. After countless hours of research, she discovered that the chemicals in many of our personal care products have strong links to the rise in breast cancer, infertility, and autism. Unable to find a cosmetic brand that was truly natural and worked as her previous cosmetics did, Lewis created Aisling Organic Cosmetics.
Today, Aisling Organic Cosmetics is in over 50 stores and Lewis has devoted vast amounts of time and energy to working with retail partners to expand the brand. We asked her to share five tips on how to make sure your products sell after you’ve gotten into retail.
"You’re on the Shelves…Now What?!"
You've finally closed the sale and your beautiful line of products is being shipped to a store across the US. Hooray! But … now what?!
Many think the challenge of retail is getting product on the shelves. While that may be true, a bigger obstacle is getting people into the store and supporting the retail staff in selling. At Aisling Organic Cosmetics, this is an ongoing challenge but one we diligently focus on. Educating the sales staff of over 50 stores can be time-consuming but if you set up the programs from the start, success will come much easier.
Here are a few tips we have learned along the way for supporting stores in selling your line:
1. Provide a detailed educational packet for stores to reference.
Part of our on-boarding process with a new store is providing them with the written information they need to be successful. A few of those documents include:
- List of ingredients
- Explanation of features/benefits of the line
- Direct contact info for the CEO or store support
- The background of the company
- Things that make you special (Ex. giving back, sustainable packaging etc.)
- Color guide that shows all of our products and shades
- Providing this information allows them to be equipped to answer any question that comes their way. The hardest items to sell are the ones that the sales staff knows nothing about.
2. Testers, testers, testers!
If you have a product that can be demoed, there should be a tester on the sales floor, no exceptions. For example, one of our best-sellers is the eco-luxe liquid lipstick. If the stores didn't have testers for people to try, the likelihood of them purchasing is slim. People enjoy to trying things and once they do, it ends up being an emotional purchase because they love the way it feels, looks, smells etc. This isn’t to say that testers needed to be provided complimentary. Stores often will pay for testers but it usually is cheaper than their cost. Developing a tester program for stores is a great way to increase purchasing!
3. Lunch and learns.
You CAN sit with us! One of the best ways to get stores excited about a product is to educate them about it! Our favorite educational strategy is a “Lunch + Learn”, which is basically having a meeting with the sales staff of a store during their lunch break. This meeting can be done in-person or via Skype, but we personally see better results when it is face to face. We often like to do a makeup demonstration followed by a Q + A. This allows the team to see how we apply the makeup, choose colors and answer customer questions/concerns.
4. Try before you buy.
Who doesn’t love a freebie? Although this isn’t a strategy we have been able to adopt yet (due to difficulties getting makeup produced in smaller sizes), people are more willing to purchase a product they have already tried and hopefully, loved. Having the ability to provide sample sizes to your stores is a win-win situation for both parties as it helps get your product out there but is also a great way to aid a new store in selling.
5. Host a class!
It’s time to take the stage! If one of your new accounts is having trouble getting your product off the shelves, host a class for them! One of our most popular classes is “Why Go Organic?”; a class focused on educating the public about the importance of using clean products. This is a great method to boost sales because no one can represent the brand better than you, therefore, people who come to take the class will often purchase. Given they love they product like we know they will, the store should start to see an influx of purchasing once these attendees need to restock. Warning: stores will love this option because it’s free sales for them so make sure you make it known that this is a limited or one-time option.
With these tips on hand, you should be able to support your accounts with ease! But don’t forget, your time is sacred; use it wisely as not at all stores are worth the time and energy these steps take.
If you want additional clarification on anything mentioned in this article, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always welcome helping other entrepreneurs!