Whether it’s with customers, suppliers or even competitors, the beauty business is all about relationships. For small businesses, your relationship with the major beauty suppliers can be make or break. So what do the big beauty companies look for in their smaller customers and how can you strengthen your bond with them?
As an accounts receivable and payments tech solution, SurePayd works closely with big beauty players including L’Oreal, COTY, Revlon , helping to identify and solve their pain points with customers of all sizes. This is what we’ve learned about what they want from small businesses.
1. Be a low-touch customer
It might seem counterintuitive, but for an independent beauty business or small chain the goal is to be a low-touch, effortless customer for your suppliers.
The big suppliers using SurePayd to manage their accounts receivable are typically dealing with a 70/30 split – 70% of their customers are small businesses, representing only 30% of their revenue. On the other hand, a third of the customers are bigger chains that often have more complex accounts requiring more time and effort to manage.
For small businesses, it’s the ease of the relationship rather than the size of the orders that makes you valuable to major beauty suppliers. Keeping your ordering and accounts processes as streamlined as possible is a win-win a win-win situation for both you and your supplier – trust us, it is noticed and very much appreciated by the major brands!
2. Embrace tech solutions in your back office
What’s the best way to be seen as a high value, low-touch customer to the big suppliers? By embracing tech solutions and getting on the same platforms as the big brands, especially when it comes to back office management.
Being tech-savvy and willing to take advantage of the solutions on offer is key. Whether it’s a self-service portal, automated dispute resolution or repeat ordering tools, getting yourself and your administrative staff on-board with tech will reduce the time-consuming back-and-forth of phone calls and emails.
Customer uptake is one of the many factors that beauty brands use to evaluate the success of their digital transformations – showing enthusiastic support might even see you asked to trial new features and tools ahead of your competitors.
3. Pay invoices on time
Obvious? Yes. But it still needs to be said: paying your invoices on time is crucial for building a strong relationship with your suppliers. And the opposite is also true: making a habit of missing payment deadlines will quickly erode any goodwill you may have built up in other areas.
In every major beauty company the accounts receivable team is actively tracking who pays on time and who doesn’t. Take advantage of autopay features to make sure you never miss a payment – companies using SurePayd can sign their customers up to autopay via direct debit from bank account or credit card.
Of course, maintaining a perfect record isn’t always possible. Giving advance notice and an expected timeframe for a late payment goes a long way to managing expectations and maintaining strong relationships.
4. Take advantage of incentives and discounts
If your supplier provides discounts for early payments, order volume or incentives for re-ordering, take them up on the offer! It’s another KPI accounts receivables teams are tracking, and you want your business name to appear in as many of their positive business metrics as possible.
Not only will it help your bottom line, but big companies use uptake of incentives as a way to measure customer engagement. Staying across what is on offer also signals that you are paying attention and value their brands. Trials for new products or corporate initiatives are offered to engaged customers first – it’s a category you want to be in.
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