Tuesday, 19 April 2011

BBC2's Britain’s Next Big Thing – what are Boots buyers looking for?

Boots is the Holy Grail for many beauty brands hoping to make it big – their nationwide accessibility on every high street creates brand recognition and sales numbers that most brands can only dream of.

Unfortunately Boots’ Buyers are notoriously difficult to get into, as they usually work with tried and tested suppliers. So when BBC2 teamed up with the health and beauty retailer in Britain’s Next Big Thing (aired earlier this evening), they gave the public a rare opportunity to pitch their product ideas to Boots’ top buyers.

From hundreds of applicants just 10 people were chosen to pitch to Boots’ top buyers; Annabel Franks, Head of Exclusives; Andy Atkinson, Cosmetics Category Manager and Alison Hands, Baby & Food Category Manager.

Here are the key tips and advice taken from the show, for pitching to Boots’ buyers:

•    In the first meeting the health and beauty buyers want to understand who the person/people are and what their product is – what’s the idea, what’s the USP
•    If they are interested in the idea, the buyers will request a second meeting, in which they will then discuss rigorous testing, packaging, distribution... all the finer details of launching a brand
•    Don’t just talk at the store buyers – allow space in the conversation for the buyers to ask questions
•    Personality counts: 2 young guys fresh from university pitched their brand Wingman – male hygiene wipes – which the beauty buyers didn’t feel was quite right for the market, but because they liked the people presenting the pitch so much, they invited them back for a second meeting
•    Logistics are key –an entrepreneur pitched an organic male skincare range, which due to its organic nature had a very short lifespan, so the products wouldn’t last long on-shelf. The entrepreneur suggested that Boots keeps the products in fridges in-store, but logistically this just isn’t feasible and so the buyers turned it down
•    Product testing is all-important and was always one of the first questions the health and beauty buyers asked about. For example, a natural range that treated eczema really impressed the buyers but they couldn’t take the products on until they had been rigorously tested, particularly as eczema products are considered as medical and have to be tested as such
•    What impressed the Boots health and beauty buyers most were the people who completely understood who the Boots customer is and knew how their products fitted into their lifestyle

If you missed Britain's Next Big Thing on BBC2, you can watch it online here

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