At today’s breakneck speed in which social media-driven beauty trends emerge, retailers can’t always wait for a major trade show or a brand visit to headquarters.
That’s where RangeMe, an online platform that streamlines new product discovery between suppliers and retailers hits a sweet spot.
While not replacing the importance of face-to-face meetings, RangeMe gets rapid exposure for emerging items — a must in the beauty business. Upstart brands are producing the lion’s share of new beauty business, especially in the mass market, according to beauty buyers. The race is on to find up-and-comers quickly to be first to market.
“We offer the ability to streamline the way that retailers and brands can connect without buyers leaving their desks,” explained Nicky Jackson, founder and chief executive officer of RangeMe. The company has grown to more than 85,000 suppliers and in excess of 300,000 active products across all categories. Earlier this year, RangeMe attracted the attention of ECRM, which produces more than 60 in-person, category-focused buyer/seller planning sessions a year. ECRM acquired RangeMe for undisclosed terms, a vote of confidence to two concepts can work in tandem.
“There’s still a big need to connect face-to-face so there is a natural synergy between the two,” Jackson said. Echoing that sentiment is Greg Farrar, ceo of ECRM. “By incorporating RangeMe’s digital product discovery solution into ECRM’s processes and services, we can be the true extension of the buyer’s sourcing and category planning efforts.”
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RangeMe presents products across a number of categories to participating retailers, including beauty, food, beverage, pet and more. In a click, merchants can see everything from pricing to how many followers the brands have on social media — a suggestion which build into the brand profiles for beauty buyers like Sephora who work with RangeMe. They can also easily request samples and, when they desire, schedule a personal meeting. “We’ve seen brands seamlessly make business redefining retailer connections within days on the platform versus what could even take several years,” noted Jackson of the speed to market.
RangeMe cuts across trade channels. In fact, Sephora sought out to the company to help it find emerging brands as an avenue to feed the appetite of its consumers always on the prowl for new. “We can help retailers be quick to [react to] consumers who are no longer brand loyal,” Jackson explained.
In August, Rite Aid announced it would work with the platform in an initiative to efficiently uncover product innovation. “With RangeMe, we can now scale our discovery efforts and continue to source products that are unique and meaningful for our customers,” stated Bill Bergin, Rite Aid’s group vice president of Health and Beauty.
One retailer described searching RangeMe like “attending Cosmoprof daily.”
Beauty firm Cosmakery, a line designed to help women apply makeup like a professional, revved up its business via RangeMe. Janelle Thomason, an Emmy-award winning makeup artist, created her line “to empower women to look the way they want to, every day, with their own two hands.” She credits RangeMe’s profile for netting her exposure that got her distribution with a new e-retailer called Sweet Sparkle. “I was surprised at how quickly it happened,” Thomason said.
It isn’t only emerging brands benefitting from the service, Jackson said. Larger conglomerates tap it to get smaller brands within their portfolios greater exposure or to expand into new trade channels. Suppliers are given increased control over the marketing of their products along with greater access to retail buyers.
“We allow retailers to be trendsetters rather than reactors,” Jackson concluded.