The relationship between suppliers and retailers has always been a complicated one with each at the end of a tensioned rope in a game of margin tug of war.
Whilst nothing is going to change that relationship, the evolving retail landscape promises both new opportunities and fresh dangers for suppliers in their quest to get their product in front of the final customer in the most visible and attractive way possible.
Suppliers more than ever, and in more ways than ever, need to become retailers!
The opportunity side of the coin is that the route from the supplier to the final customer is more direct than ever, it is easier than ever before. The route can be physical with brand flagship stores or eye-catching temporary pop-up shops, via e-commerce or at a promotional level through the many avenues of social media.
The danger side of the coin for existing suppliers is the increasing competition for retailer attention and their precious shelf-space. Market dynamics are presenting retailers with alternatives from a seemingly endless stream of new suppliers, a gathering crowd of online brands looking for physical footholds and exposure, as well as the profitable private label collections of the retailers themselves.
To get ahead and stay ahead, suppliers need to be professional, customer focused, visually aware, commercially astute and data literate in their dealings with retailers…they need to be fellow retailers!
It’s a simple fact of modern buyer life that in the time-pressed, results-stressed retail environment any supplier who comes ready armed with commercially researched and analysed collections, finalised planograms with density display criteria, customer demographic analysis and projected sales plans will be welcomed if not with open-arms, then at the least the time of day.
An hour in the presence of your buyer could be worth a lifetime of business!
What’s your hour looking like at the moment?
What’s involved in the evolution of supplier to retailer?
assortment structures…commercially constructed ranges with category balance and profitable size, colour and price architectures.
product stories…groups of product as ready-made visual blocks including powerful categories, inspirational themes and collections.
in-season management…predictions of sales patterns with contingency plans for replenishment and renewal, promotions and actions to sell.
visual merchandising…visual guidelines and planograms for buying and display to facilitate “buying for space!”
retail calendars…in-season dynamics with prepared product messages, events and activities for retailer and supplier communication
store disciplines…support and tools to assist retailers in the display and commercial maintenance of store display
store selling…training and dynamic communication to retail associates to engage and excite in assortment through the season
brand proposition…a clear, consistent and attractive proposition delivered through product, communication and service to transform you from “just-another name” into a “must-have brand!”
VM-unleashed helps suppliers evolve into retailers…
We identify opportunities to introduce professionalism and retail-thinking into supplier organisations and client relationships
We change the supplier mind-set through workshops & exercises
We work to add commercial best practice into assortment structure
We directly introduce new processes and responsibilities
We help to deliver new store elements, visuals, displays & brand materials
We develop training and communication tools with retail client store personnel
We evolve the supplier “brand proposition” to build value and loyalty with both retail clients and the final customer
So now, what about you?
How does your brand proposition feel?
Are you in need of some retail evolution in your business?