Getting Started With Online Retailers
Selling your beauty brand online is an important step, and beauty products account for roughly 9% of online shopping sales. It’s an easier way to get your products in front of more people, so it may be worth finding an online retail partner to sell your brand in their established store. Compiled from interviews with online retail buyers and store owners, we gathered their top tips on standing out, creating a partnership, and thriving in the online beauty space.
How Do You Discover Indie Beauty Brands? How Can I Stand Out?
Most buyers found brands through social media. Either they were directly messaged by the brands, or they saw a post, investigated their profile, and reached out. This means you have an important opportunity to create a beautiful social media presence (especially on Instagram) and be authentic to the narrative of your brand.
If a beauty influencer has tried and mentioned your product you get added credibility, so check out our series on connecting with media influencers. Often stores will get requests from their current customers to carry your little indie brand, so half the battle is getting your product into the hands of important consumers. Create samples, and be ready to distribute them. You can create giveaways or competitions, just spread your product around!
To stand out from other brands, create a beautiful, thoughtful social media profile and create an experience with your product. There are so many lotions in the world that it’s up to you to create clean, crisp images. Lifestyle pictures are also appropriate, so show a range of your target customers using your product(s) in appealing settings.
A note on beautiful profiles:
Great pictures mean high quality, high resolution images with clean backgrounds. Show how to use your product—show pictures of it on skin. Although you don’t have to mimic your favorite brands, notice what works about their pictures and adapt if for your own story. You can assume that once you are picked up by an online retailer they will either take their own pictures of your product or work with you to develop professional photos. The trick is just to catch their eye the first time round. Also, don’t forget to post videos of your product in use!
How to Approach an Online Retailer
In keeping with the online platform, approach online retailers digitally through either social media (again, Instagram) or via email. Comment on a photo, mention your brand, or send a direct message. Make sure your hero products are obvious, and the retailers that you’ve chosen match your own brand. Is your product suitable for their platform? Do you offer foundation but they don’t sell any makeup? As always, do your research in the beginning to save time down the road.
2 Ways to Succeed in Online Retail
Once you’ve established a dialogue with a retailer, you’ll need to assess each other and what it’s like to work together. They are looking for 2 main things: that you’ll work with them well and make it easy to sell your products, and that you’ll cater to the needs of their buyers.
Working With Your Online Retail Partner
In terms of working together, retailers need to establish a few things about you. Are you compliant with FDA regulations (or the governing body of the other markets they reach)? Will your supply chain be able to handle the increase in demand? Can you adjust your packaging to match their aesthetic? They are hoping you will listen to your retailers and if they believe something needs to be changed, that you will respond. Full transparency garners respect, as does strong communication.
If your online retail partner is creating a beauty box to ship 4 times a year, this may be the chance to step up with samples and show them you are committed to the relationship too. In addition to participating in their events and promotions, make sure you are keeping their staff educated about your product and its use. Your goal is to keep them on your side for the whole process, start to finish, while also understanding that they want you to be successful. If done right, you can create a real partnership.
Catering to Your Customers
The second part of the evaluation process is being able to cater to the needs of your customers. Provide extra customer service as needed, write guest blogs, and as mentioned make yourself available to the store’s staff. Perhaps you can create a guide for customers to use to find the perfect foundation, or scrub, or cleanser for their skin. Increasing your level of customization in your product line helps drive the experience of the consumer and is a major part of skincare trends.
Securing an online retailer partnership is much like securing a brick and mortar deal, but you’ll need to scale differently and cater to potentially international markets. Take your time and do your research to find the best store to match your brand. Build up your supply chain and secure lines of credit in advance. And finally, sometimes you’ll have to go above and beyond to provide resources and ensure your sales and relationships stay strong.