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Buyers are product junkies – and 5 other things we learned at Beauty Exchange

Enterprise Nation’s Beauty Exchange event in association with O2 Business in London attracted more than 150 brands as leading retail buyers and inspiring entrepreneurs shared their business insights, including how to sell to some of the biggest high street shops. Here are some of the key things we learned.

Buyers are product junkies

Wizz Selvey from Soho House said that all buyers at larger retailers are all product junkies – they get sent a lot of stuff and they like to see it, feel it, try it before they make a decision to buy. So don’t just describe your product – send it to them, demonstrate if you can. They’ll also need to know prices, including your costs and projected retail prices up front and perhaps most importantly, how quickly they can get the product into their shops.


Love your product

Lily Child from Boots said that she admires passion in small businesses. If you want a big retailer to sell your product, they’ll be more impressed if they can understand exactly why you’re so excited about your product and why they should be excited too.


Be good to your suppliers

It’s early days, you haven’t got much money, your orders are going to be tiny, you’re a bit of a credit risk, and if you’re developing new products you could prove to be time-intensive – in other words, you’re the worst possible client for a major retailer, said Oliver Bridge from Cornerstone. So treat them well, be upfront and transparent about what you need and always treat your retailer as a really valuable business partner.


You have to sell your product for the retailer

The most frustrating thing for retailers is when they have products taking up valuable space on their shelves and not selling, said BeautyMART’s Millie Kendall. If you can provide proof that your product will sell, you’ll be in a much stronger position.


Know your customers

Sam Burstyn from Sainsbury’s said that he expected any small business that pitched to him to be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the people who’d be expected to buy the product. Large retailers know their customers and they expect their suppliers to have the same knowledge for their products.


Land some press to grow quickly

Millie Kendall from BeautyMART told delegates that media coverage is vital for a successful product launch, while two Boots buyers shared an amazing case study about the impact of being featured in the press.


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