What Retail Buyers Want: Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath  9/24/2017


As part of their preparation for ECRM’s 60+ EPPS meetings, retail buyers complete a form on the EPPS prep site, indicating the subcategories they are buying for, and on what areas they are focusing their buying efforts.

Based on this information, collected from more than 150 buyers and category managers already registered to attend ECRM’s upcoming Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath EPPS meetings this coming January in Jacksonville, Fla., here are a few key areas of interest:

Natural & Organic: As we’ve seen throughout ECRM’s sessions across categories this year, the wellness trend is driving consumer demand and product innovation, as increasing numbers of health-minded people seek cleaner ingredients in the products they buy. And buyers have taken note – they want to source beauty products with natural and organic ingredients and in some cases want specific certifications such as vegan and non-GMO. What’s more, they are looking for products that are sustainably sourced, with Earth-friendly packaging, and more transparency into the manufacturing processes.

Trending Ingredients: Products that feature “ingredients du jour,” such as charcoal, coconut oil, argan oil, hyaluronic acid, and manuka honey, each of which touts specific beauty benefits.

Gift Sets: Cosmetic, fragrance and bath products packaged as gift sets, particularly seasonal gifts, or individual products that can be used as Christmas stocking stuffers.

Products for Older Consumers: Products aimed at issues related to aging consumers, such as anti-aging skin care.

Private Brands:
Merchandise across all beauty categories that can be sold under the retailer’s brand.

Prestige Beauty:
High-end products, typically retailing for more than $10, including luxury, niche and salon brands. Many retail buyers seeking prestige products are also looking to carry them exclusively in their stores or region.

Value: Conversely, some buyers are at the other end of the spectrum, seeking extreme value products. This includes close-outs, off-price, and opportunity buys that can help them continually refresh assortments for those retailers looking for a “treasure-hunt” experience that keeps shoppers returning to find something new. Some retailers in particular are looking for suppliers with extensive lines of products across categories who can act as category captains for their assortments.

Indie Beauty: Emerging beauty brands not yet in the mass retail segment. These start-up brands are “hidden gems” that can help a retailer differentiate their beauty offerings, especially if they can offer exclusives.

Impulse: Products that can be displayed on power wings, clip strips and shippers to drive impulse sales in the beauty aisle and at the checkout.

New Color Lines: The Unicorn and Mermaid craze has driven demand for bright and unique colors, and buyers are looking for new color lines to meet this demand. 


Beauty Accessories: Wipes, applicators, brushes -- all of those products to help apply, remove, carry and store beauty products.

Online Opportunities: Many retailers attending sell products online, and are looking to set up suppliers on their e-commerce platforms. In some cases, however, this will require drop-ship capabilities, or at least a U.S.-based distributor.

Products for Canada: Several of the buyers attending are from large retail chains up north, and in addition to the items noted above, they also have particular requirements that are unique to the Canadian market, such as bilingual packaging (English and French) and a Canadian broker or distributor.

Social Media:
Beauty and social media go hand-in-hand, and retailers are interested in suppliers with an active social media presence, particularly those who partner with influencers that are popular with their target consumers.

Tony Giovanini

SVP of HBC

Tony can be reached at (440) 528-0416

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