BTB Marketer Seeks Catalog Success for Shower In A Bottle

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America's Best Choice, a business-to-business marketer of health and beauty products, is taking a new anti-microbial spray to tanning salons nationwide through catalog sales.

The company expects the product, Shower In A Bottle, to gain exposure to about half of the nation's 26,000 tanning salons through the catalogs of its 15 distributors. The product, developed and produced by First Scientific Inc., Ogden, UT, sells wholesale for $7.99 a bottle.

America's Best Choice, Destin, FL, expects to sell at least 100,000 bottles by the end of the year and has set a goal of 1 million bottles per year by the end of 2002, said Ray Espey, chief financial officer at America's Best Choice.

Distributors so far have ordered about 20,000 bottles. With the tanning season beginning in March, distributors will send product catalogs to salons across the nation and sales should begin to pick up, Espey said. American Sun Systems, Greensboro, NC, and Four Seasons, Paris, TN, are among the distributors that have agreed to carry the product in their catalogs.

The company also is sending free samples to tanning salons to conduct an informal consumer survey. Salons that receive samples are asked to try them out on their customers, then ask customers whether they would be willing to buy the product. The survey has the double effect of testing the product with consumers and convincing salons that the product is marketable, Espey said.

Randy Hales, CEO of First Scientific, said the company wanted to get the product to market quickly and avoid the cost of developing its own brand for Shower In A Bottle. Thus it decided to allow the product to be marketed under the better-known label of America's Best Choice, which has been marketing to the tanning industry since 1992.

America's Best Choice will attempt to expand the target market of Shower In A Bottle to include fitness centers, Espey said. The company is testing sales of the product through Curves For Women, Waco, TX, a fitness chain with more than 500 locations nationwide.

America's Best Choice also has dropped 120 direct mail packages to distributors of products for fitness centers. If the initial tests are successful, the company will begin marketing more aggressively to this segment, Espey said.

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