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When does it makes sense to invest in a perfume?
(Part 3)

Go back: Finding the right scale

Distribution: Getting Your Perfume Out There

People cannot buy your perfume if they cannot find it. People will not buy your fragrance if they can't find it conveniently. Distribution involves placing your perfume where it has the best chance of being sold. That can mean retail stores or websites or flea markets or door to door. It depends on where your best prospects are to be found and how they might best connect with your product. It is essential that you work out your distribution before you put money into your perfume. "Textbook" distribution solutions will rarely work for the small, independent perfume entrepreneur. You'll need to use some imagination. Let's look at your situation.

Perhaps your first step should be to consider the scale of your promotion. If your goal is to sell thousands of bottles, you'll almost certainly need to have your fragrance available in major retailers, not necessarily chains but at least major independent retailers... a bunch of them. This means you'll have to deliver product to these stores and track sales. Almost certainly you will be required to take back unsold inventory. You'll have to have good logistics set up and solid financing since a good deal of time may elapse from when you first deliver your perfume to your stores and when you make a final accounting with them.

In reality, as a new vendor of a new product, it's likely you'll only convince a handful of stores to display your fragrance and you'll probably have to go through a good deal of personal selling to set even up this much distribution. Two big problems – headaches – arise. Even if your stores sell some perfume for you, it may not be enough to make your promotion profitable. Then, when you find that not enough of your perfume is being sold, and you want to sell more, your only solution will be to convince more stores to carry your perfume. This can be difficult.

You might wonder how others in your situation got their start selling their perfume and making a good profit from it. In almost all cases the answer is personal effort, the personal efforts of the promoter / entrepreneur. Energy can open doors. Energy can make sales. Energy can get you "demonstration stations" and even "workshops" inside retail stores. Energy can help you create appealing, engaging, compelling video clips for your social media. Energy can get you interviews on local ratio and even TV stations to talk up your perfume.

But before you put this energy into it, you must map out your distribution targets and your targets must have the capability of selling enough of your perfume to meet your profit goals.

Next: Promotion...

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Philip Goutell
Lightyears, Inc.