Sharing his extensive retail knowledge at Natural & Organic Products Europe last month, Jeff Martin, operations director at As Nature Intended told audience members in the packed out seminar theatre that when it came to selling natural beauty products, independent retailers needed to be “more slick”.
With sales of organic health and beauty products reaching £27 million in the UK in 2008, Martin said that the natural beauty category continues to be a lucrative sector for the health food industry, but that retailers needed to work on three key areas: product selection and buying; merchandising; and marketing.
Retailers need to identify what type of consumer they’re targeting before they can make a successful product selection, said Martin: “Get to know your customer. Understand what it is they¹re looking for, whether they¹re high end or mass market, what price point they’re looking at. And are you catering for entry-level customers too? Independent retailers need to be more slick in their approach. ”
Martin also emphasised the need for a unique selling point, especially in the field of organic beauty: “There is still the perceived notion that organic equals premium, but don’t underestimate the amount that people will spend. What you must have clearly outlined, though, is your own ingredients’ standards, such as whether or not you only stock certified organic products. This is an important marketing point for the store. ”
Careful category management, 6-12 monthly product reviews, and building strong relationships with suppliers were other points of interest highlighted in Martin’s talk, as was the importance of trained staff. “Successful retailing is all about staff education, so make sure your staff know the products and ranges that you stock. Teach your staff to link-sell, and to know the key benefits of each product — it’s the best way of introducing customers to new ranges.”