What makes a best-in-class supplier in retailers’ eyes?
In a recent survey, retailers were asked:
In the current economic climate, what characteristics are the most important from your suppliers? (in no specific order)
1. The ability to analyze and anticipate current & future shopper trends
2. Consistently high service levels that meet our expectations
3. Providing the best and most competitive pricing
4. Making sure they can fill orders quickly because they have the products in stock
5. Rapid delivery so we have products on our shelves before we’re out of stock
6. Becoming our strategic partner
For retailers, finding those best-in-class suppliers will go far in making sure they are rewarded with excellent sales. Honing the ability to work collaboratively and synergistically with strategic suppliers is critical to future success.
Retailers have identified the top 6 characteristics of the best product suppliers as:
Popular items – they know what sells and anticipate future trends
Being associated with a wholesale supply company which knows and shares what sells is a big plus for those running a retail store. Having this type of information provides a powerful means of knowing exactly what will bring shoppers into your store. The best selling items represent a means of quickly turning inventory into cash – and maximizing profit. Innovation is important, but it must be relevant and shopper-driven to drive successful customer engagement. Retailers can no longer be confident that last year’s blockbuster product will provide sustainable revenue this year. New products are being introduced into the market at a record rate, and in a demand-driven world, the customer calls the shots. The best suppliers provide great category-wide customer insight and focus on future trends so they can stay on top of what’s selling in the marketplace.
Great customer service
Who wants to constantly feel there is no contact or follow-up from the very companies which are so important to the success of your retail store? Make sure your suppliers not only promptly return your calls, but they also take the initiative to be proactive by keeping you informed and updated about your orders. Make sure your suppliers care about your happiness with their performance and do everything to make each experience easy and pleasurable for you.
It is nice if you can find the wholesale suppliers which can always charge the lowest price. This is seldom, if ever, the case. The reality is you seek to have competitive prices on everything you buy from your primary product suppliers, with a few items being the lowest priced of all your vendor options. In some cases a few items might even be the highest priced. It is simply a matter of locating a vendor which meets all of your important selection criteria and provides competitive pricing on top of everything else.
High in-stock percentage
Successfully running a retail store requires you to have the exact products your shoppers need and want in-stock whenever they are needed. To accomplish this task you need wholesale suppliers you can depend on to reliably have those same core products in-stock most of the time. You need to know in virtually all cases you can submit an order and it will be quickly filled.
Fast delivery of products
When you are running a retail store it does no good to have a major need and then deal with suppliers which are slow to confirm, pull orders and ship them to you. Speed of order processing should be one of your top considerations as the faster your suppliers deliver, the lower the safety stock you can successfully maintain to meet shopper demands. Lower safety stock can lead to higher profit when your suppliers deliver before you are out of stock!
Becoming a strategic partner
The role of the supplier has changed. Once merely the low-cost producer of commodity products, strategic suppliers now function as critical partners that work with their retail partners to identify opportunities to leverage existing designs and components, rather than starting from scratch. Or it can mean working from existing manufacturing lines and coordinating with logistics to determine the optimal packaging, containers and routes for lowest-cost shipment. Finally, strategic suppliers are adding value by introducing new product capabilities for retailers to consider. Forward-thinking suppliers have reinvented their roles as vital participants in the retail product lifecycle, thereby becoming strategic partners to the retailer.
If you like this information, you’ll really like this SPECIAL REPORT “Top 5 Strategies for Retail Store Growth in Difficult Economic Times”.
About the author; Elias Amash is the President of GRIP. Located just south of Grand Rapids, Michigan, GRIP features a 200,000 sq. ft. state of the art warehouse facility including a 2,000 sq. ft. product showroom. GRIP carries a product line of over 1,500 specialty hand tools, household items, automotive, air tools, wood working, and general merchandise. With its proven track record of excellence in supplying retail clients with innovative products, timely fulfillment, and world class customer support, the ideal solution to your retail needs in GRIP.