Pros and cons of working with stockists

October 09, 2019

Pros and cons of working with stockists

For many skincare brand owners, there comes a point in their business journey when they ask themselves, ‘Should I connect with stockists and sell my products in their salon/spa/store?’ Today I want to share the pros and cons of working with stockists, so you can decide if doing so is the right choice for your skincare business.

The pros

There are many pros to working with stockists to grow your business. Here’s a few of the key positives for you to consider:

Exposure. Working with a stockist will naturally result in your products getting more exposure and being seen by more people. When it comes to building a successful and sustainable business, exposure is everything! Businesses need to ensure that they’re engaging in multiple marketing activities so that they can diversify their income streams. Working with stockists is a great way to do this! 

On a sidenote - it’s imperative that the stockists you collaborate with are getting your ideal customers through their doors. There’s no point in stocking your products in a ‘hipster’ salon if your branding is targeted at elderly women. You won’t make sales and, assuming that stockist knows a thing or two about business, they’re not likely to take you on as a partner anyway.

They do the promotion and selling for you. The great thing about stockists is that they do the hard work to share and sell your products on your behalf! No, it’s not as simple as merely ‘dumping’ your products at a salon/spa/store and ‘running’ (we’ll get to that later!) BUT it’s in their best interest to promote your products so they too can make a profit. 

It adds another income stream to your business. The most successful skincare businesses will not rely on one income stream, or only have one way of selling their products. If you want your business to grow, you need to find creative ways to diversify your income. Working with stockists creates another opportunity for your ideal customers to find your products and therefore buy your products. 

Try before you buy. Many consumers want to try before they buy and having your physical products in a salon/spa/store (rather than just having a pretty image on your website or social media) allows then to get a real life feel for them. There is power in being able to smell and touch a skincare product and very often, this experience is what people need to break through any resistance they have to handing over their hard earned cash.

The cons

As with anything, there’s dark with the light and there are a number of cons for you to consider before you go gung-ho and start contacting potential stockists. Here’s a few of the biggies:

Lack of freedom. Most stockists will expect you to notify them when you put your skincare products on sale. Why? Because if you’re selling your products at a reduced rate on your website, why would anyone want to purchase your products in their salon/spa/store for a higher cost? What this means is that it’s no longer okay for you to fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, be disorganised and do spontaneous ‘pop up’ sales in your business. Working with stockists requires you to be more organised and considered in your marketing plan.

You make less money than you would selling your products yourself. When you sell your products directly to a customer you receive 100% of the profits. When you work with a stockist you sell your products for a lower wholesale price which means that you get less money in your pocket.  The pros of this are that you’re consistently moving stock. The cons are that you’re making less money. It’s up to you to decide if this model works for, and adds value to, your business. 

It requires hard work. As I mentioned earlier, establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with a stockist requires more of you than just ‘dumping and running’. You need samples, terms and conditions, wholesale and retail price lists, a product catalogue, marketing materials and training materials - just to name a few. You also need to maintain and nurture a positive ongoing working relationship with them. This requires hard work, time, energy and money. 

As you can see, there’s lots to consider when deciding whether or not working with stockists is the right choice for you and your business. If you are interested in working with stockists in your business, our Skincare Success Simplified course has a whole module dedicated to teaching you how to connect with and secure stockists who will do the selling for you (we cover things like understanding your unique selling point, creating opening order packages and what marketing materials you need). It also includes: 

  • A terms and conditions template to use with your stockists
  • A price list template 
  • A product catalogue template that can be easily branded for your specific business. 

You can find out more about Skincare Success Simplified here.