NIKKI ALLEN outlines four ways to clean up in toiletries and grooming
Know your category: Pick the right range and promotions
- Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Classic Clean 250ml
- Pantene Smooth and Sleek Conditioner 200ml
- Lynx Africa shower gel 250ml
- Radox Active shower gel 250ml
- Dove Invisible 150ml
- Impulse Hint of Musk 75ml
- Sure Cotton Fresh 150ml
- E45 Dry Skin Treatment 50g
- Nivea Soft 200ml
- Vaseline Essential Moisture lotion 200ml
Wholesalers can boost sales in the toiletries and male grooming category – and help their customers do the same – first and foremost by getting to grips with this large, brand-dominated sector. Worth £7.5bn in sales across the UK and growing in value by 2% year on year, wholesalers can make attractive returns if they get their range and promotions right.
Nicola Bradbury, brand manager at private label toiletries supplier McBride, says: “Toiletries is a key area for whole- salers as their customers will regularly be stocking up on these products, all year round.
“Overall, the total retail market for toiletries and male grooming is estimated by Key Note to have increased by 8% between 2008 and 2012, driven by the demand for products that are considered an essential part of everyday grooming,” she says.
Within the category, meanwhile, hair- care is worth £1.25bn nationally – a whopping 22% of the overall category – while male grooming, which has been on the rise for the past few years, is now worth a total of £945m and 16% of the sector.
“All this means there is a clear window of opportunity for wholesalers to stock not just a core toiletries range, but a comprehensive male grooming fixture, too,” says Jared Regan, Gillette male grooming brand manager at Procter & Gamble.
Get the range right: Big brands, top-up shopping and value for money
Male Grooming Products
- Lynx Africa shower gel 250ml
- Lynx Africa body spray 150ml
- Lynx Africa deodorant 150ml
- Sure for Men Active 150ml
- Sure for Men Invisible Ice 150ml
- Gillette Blue II Disposable 5s
- Gillette Sensor 3 Disposable 4s
- Gillette Mach 3 plus 1 refill
- Gillette Series Shave Gel Sensitve 200ml
- Gillette Classic Shave Foam Regular 200ml
With huge advertising budgets pumped into the big brands, these are often on shoppers’ minds, say manufacturers. “A core, branded toiletries range is vital for wholesalers to stock,” says Karen Bridden, Unilever toiletries category expert. “Convenience store shoppers are looking for top-up shops, so a good value range – made up of big brands such as Lynx, Impulse, Dove and Simple rather than indulgent beauty care products – is what’s needed from wholesalers.” Helen Johnson, P&G haircare brand manager, agrees. “It’s key that wholesalers are stocking a core range of leading toiletries and male grooming brands, as these are at the front of consumers’ minds and the top of their shopping lists. In the convenience channel, P&G’s Head & Shoulders and Pantene are the biggest brands, and perform well in smaller stores.”
But own-label and economy toiletries have their place, too, says Bradbury. “It’s important for wholesalers to offer value products alongside big brands.
“The toiletries sector is a crowded one, with many big brands and new product formulations vying for space in wholesale depots. But value for money is high on every shopper’s agenda so offering prod- ucts at a range of prices will suit shoppers’ needs and budgets.”
How to merchandise: Visual support and clarity
Chairman, Three Pears Distribution, West Midlands
“We supply high volumes of both branded and own-label toiletries to independent retailers. We make sure all our staff are knowledgeable about the toiletries category, so customers know they are getting the right products for their stores. We also run a combination of regular product promo- tions and one-off deals so all our customers can benefit from our offers.”
Director, Rayburn Trading, Manchester
“We offer our retail customers big brand toiletries and male grooming products
from manufacturers such as P&G, GSK and Unilever. But we also make our own private-label products, such as our hair care range Hair Academy, which gives retailers and shoppers more choice on price.”
Wholesalers should make the most of advice from suppliers on how to display and merchandise toiletries in-depot.
Manufacturers, such as DCS, P&G and Unilever, offer free category management services to wholesalers on how to display their ranges.
“Execution in-depot needs to be continuously considered,” says Richard Jorden, commercial director at DCS Europe. “Using visual support such as tower ends or offering retail customers planograms, a display unit or product-usage charts should all help customers want to buy.”
All this is vital because the toiletries and male grooming category can often be complicated for both shoppers and retailers to manage. “Making your fixture clear and logically laid out in-depot will help retailers find what they are looking for much more easily,” says Tom Hazelden, retail execution manager, c-sector, at Unilever.
“For example, merchandise all sub- categories together on shelves to make it easier for retailers to spot what they need,” he says.
Good advice wins loyalty: Educate retailers on best practice
The more knowledgeable wholesalers and their in-depot staff are about the toiletries category, the more they can help customers boost sales with advice and tips. And if sales increase thanks to a wholesaler’s advice and support, that means increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
So make sure you know how retailers need to display and promote their range in stores, say suppliers. “For example, retail- ers should stock their products in the first third of a store to boost sales, as many shoppers are unaware their local store stocks them at all,” says Hazelden.
“Independents should merchandise with clear blocking to help their shoppers find what they need,” suggests Unilever’s Karen Bridden.
And as toiletries shoppers are often in a hurry and want to find their chosen prod- uct quickly, wholesalers should offer retail customers window posters and point-of- sale material to advertise their range.