Sephora is the ultimate destination for beauty brands looking to reach the next level and attract new customers. To help make that dream a reality, this article will explore essential considerations such as understanding market trends and consumer demand, fostering an irresistible brand image, and developing a strong network in the beauty industry that can help you get closer to this goal.
PREPARATION IS KEY ...
Ensure You Align with Market Trends & Consumer Demand
A retail buyer knows the market inside out. They have a solid understanding of what's hot right now and the next big things in beauty. Before considering approaching a retail buyer, you must be confident that your products align with market demands and capitalize on consumer interest.
Retailers only want to stock products that people can't get enough of. The best way to show your product is a fit for the market is to already have a thriving community of brand fanatics and a selection of standout best-sellers that your community loves. This is the social proof you'll need to show retailers that your product is fit for the market and in demand.
It's also important to show traction, visibility, and existing buzz around your brand. Influencer collaborations and press coverage can help demonstrate your brand's growth and potential.
Establish a Crystal Clear Target Customer Profile
One common mistake beauty founders make is claiming that their brand is for everyone. Although retailers have a diverse customer base, it's critical to identify your brand's precise target demographic. This information will help a retailer understand how your products fit within their existing portfolio and cater to their different customer segments. Get to know your existing customer community inside out, so you can get crystal clear on articulating who your products are crafted for.
Nail Your USP, Brand Story & Bring Your Branding A-Game
To pique a retailer's interest, you'll need to highlight what sets your brand apart from competitors on two levels. Firstly, consider your unique selling proposition (USP), or how your product range and formulations differ from competitors. Secondly, beyond talking about your product offering, what is the brand story that you've woven through your digital marketing that has made customers fall in love with you? What does your brand stand for, what are your brand values, brand personality, and tone of your brand? And how is this different from your competitors? This is your secret sauce for standing out from the competition and attracting even more brand fanatics. This is what retailers look for in the most compelling pitches, to be confident that you can truly bring something new to their lineup.
An impressive brand presence can significantly boost your brand's credibility. Is your brand dressed for the occasion? A consistent brand image and visual identity across your packaging and digital brand channels will show your commitment to excellence. That means getting consistent and cohesive.
Side note: Pretty packaging is great, but let's not forget that demonstrating the operational capacity to fulfill and replenish orders, as well as meet supply chain requirements, is absolutely crucial.
Build Connections, Get Retailer Eyes on Your Brand & Ask for Meetings
Networking is vital for gaining access to retail decision-makers. Attend in-person industry events, trade shows, and connect with fellow founders, industry insiders, and influencers from trade press editors to trade show organizers to expand your network. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to identify and connect with relevant retail buyers and representatives. Don't hesitate to leverage personal or industry connections for introductions or referrals to the right buyers, to submit an introductory pitch deck, or to arrange a meeting.
Some retailers do allow you to submit an expression of interest directly via their corporate websites in some special cases. The traditional approach of sending professionally curated samples and information directly to the specific buyers at their corporate headquarters, followed by LinkedIn or email communication, remains a viable option. And depending on where you’re based, leveraging online platforms such as RangeMe or IBMG's Adit that are popular in the US can effectively draw retail buyers' attention to your brand. Additionally applying for retailer Accelerator programs can also bring you one step closer to this goal.
Persistence is Key
From the brands we’ve worked with and contacts in our industry network, we know that getting into the retailer of your dreams doesn’t happen overnight; it can take a year, two or three, and doesn't usually happen just after the first meeting. The name of the game is being persistent, consistent, and open to refining your pitch based on feedback from retailers or industry experts along the way, to perfect your approach.
Nothing can stop someone whose mind is set on an outcome. Whilst you wait, continue to build and nurture your community, get more growth and traction, level up your branding, expand and nurture your industry network and keep creating even more amazing products people can’t get enough.
In conclusion, pitching your beauty brand to Sephora or any other retail requires a combination of market research, an existing brand tribe, an airtight brand positioning strategy, professional branding, strategic networking, and persistence. By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of securing a coveted spot on Sephora's shelves and propel your brand to new heights.
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