Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some truths about selling your perfume in retail stores

What do you really know about getting stores to take your perfume?

I wrote a little book a few weeks ago called A Method For Getting Boutique and Variety Store Owners To Take Your Perfume. What I wrote wasn't just a few random thoughts. This book was inspired by some very recent encounters with store owners. Let me elaborate.

Every time (or almost ever time) I come across a "make money selling your perfume" pitch, the writers (most of whom have never made or sold perfume!) suggest that you can make money by having your perfume in retail stores. After all, isn't that the way most perfume is sold? Actually it's a bit more complicated.

The distribution and sales of "brand name" fragrances is a far more complex business than first meets the eye. But a "general rule" would be that the "big names" are sold only though "big retailers." you won't find the really famous brands in small, independent stores or in small, local chains. The "big names" won't sell to them.

So it might seem that this creates an opportunity for you. But it's not so simple. Big retailers DISTRIBUTE name brand fragrances more than they "sell" them. The perfume sales that they make require the buyer to come into the store LOOKING for perfume. If their perfume sales had to depend on impulse buyers, perfume sales would take a big hit. In fact, perfume sales in retail stores are driven by multimillion dollar advertising campaigns paid for by the brand owners -- NOT the retail stores. (And often these campaigns themselves fail to sell the brand, although this is rarely admitted!)

So the first reality you -- with your own perfume -- have to face is that while seeing your perfume in a store might give you a great ego boost, it isn't any guarantee that you'll make money. The cold reality is that without promotion on your part, merely getting a store to display your perfume can easily result in zero sales. This becomes a big hit to your ego.

Now in this little book I just wrote, A Method For Getting Boutique and Variety Store Owners To Take Your Perfume -- which was inspired by recent and wonderfully vivid experience (that involved a perfume that was NOT one of my own!) -- is not about getting store owners to "take" your perfume so much as it is about how to work with store owners so that they become receptive to taking on your perfume with the honest intent of helping you sell it. And that's what you want.

The simple fact is that retail stores exist to make money. The kindest, nicest, friendliest, kindest to the environment, store owner still has his or her rent to pay, salaries and related benefits to pay, plus all sorts of administrative expenses. Quite likely this person is putting in long hours trying to "make it" with their store, which could be their entire livelihood.

The store owner might be kind enough to let you display your perfume for a few weeks (on consignment, meaning if it doesn't sell, you don't get any money) but unless the store owner is enthusiastic -- not about your perfume so much but about the money it can make for them -- you won't make money simply by having a few stores "take" your perfume.

Where you make your breakthrough is in developing a mutually profitable relationship with store owners. You do this by understanding their needs and what it takes to make sales in their particular stores. With this understanding you are better able to talk shop with store owners and develop a program that will make your perfume attractive enough to the store's customers that they will buy it.

It's not easy, but it's not impossible ... and it is essential if you are counting on selling your perfumes in stores. That new book again, A Method For Getting Boutique and Variety Store Owners To Take Your Perfume. If stores are your target, this book will help. (And don't blow off small stores when you're new at the game. They are your stepping stones to larger stores, and larger sales!)

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