I attended Cosmoprof North America, the beauty industry’s largest B2B tradeshow. My biggest takeaways from the most informative panels that I attended are below, along with what else I would have liked to know.
If you want to expand internationally, and don’t know where to start, consider partnering with the US Commercial Service
Several companies that I have consulted with have had an informal international strategy of fielding inbound inquiries from retailers and distributors abroad versus going after specific attractive international markets. Whether you have a targeted strategy or are just getting started looking to expand abroad, the US Commercial Service can play a pivotal role in successful international distribution. Among the services they provide are market research from local US and in-country experts with decades of experience, identifying distributors/partners and making introductions, and navigating difficult regulatory environments. This panel highlighted BRIC countries, going into very detailed descriptions of how to do business in each country and brand success stories in the last few years. Outside of this panel, the US Commercial Service hosted hundreds of one-on-one meetings with numerous country representatives throughout the tradeshow.
While I realize that this panel was more of a sales presentation for why it is great to work with the US Commercial service, I would have liked to hear some cautionary tales for brands that had not succeeded. I also would have liked to know if and how they work with brands to identify which countries to expand to in the first place. There is plenty of research and data available for populations, consumer spending, etc. to identify market opportunities, but emerging brands may not have access to expensive reports of this sort. I would have liked to know some of the more creative ways they have helped smaller brands identify market opportunities.