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Brand Selection & Vendor Evaluation

July 18, 2012

How do you ensure that you have aligned yourself with the right partners? First you need to believe in the brand; its personality, mission statement, presence, industry leadership and reputation. Do not choose a brand based predominately on a deep discount (30% of nothing is still nothing), or because you like the sales rep (they come and go). Then review your target market demographics, your service price range, your client average spending per visit, the kind of chemical work you do, etc. to find a brand that meets these parameters and your positioning. Finally ask the sales rep what kind of vendor support package they offer, including:

• Consumer advertising (corporate and co-op)
• Education (product, technical and business)
• In-salon events and sampling programs
• Promotional programs (gift with purchase,discounting, contests, etc)
• Sales incentives (for in-salon staff)
• Product launches (frequency and collateral)
• Technology and innovation (keeping up-to-date)
• Shipping accuracy (errors, back-orders, invoicing)
• Merchandising and fixture program
• Reward / Loyalty program

Should you decide to carry more than one or two brands, ensure that each one responds to a need, has a different price point, a different technology or ingredient base and a different positioning. You want to ensure that carrying multiple brands will equate with more sales, not cannibalization and additional inventory.

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