Mike Dyer from Retail Edge Consultants explains that the relationship between suppliers and retailers is critical, especially in such unusual times as these. But consumer demand has remained strong during the pandemic and that means that businesses that are prepared to nurture that relationship will keep their fingers on the pulse.
RETAIL EDGE CONSULTANTS
Certainly the last 12 months has thrown a significant challenge at both retail and supplier sides of the jewellery market. Every month we gather, collate and report on the cross-counter sales from around 400 stores so we know and advise on the pulse of the jewellery market. This is called The Vibe and is distributed by email in the first few days of each month.
The very heartening news is that since around May 2020, comparative months sales (the same month compared this year vs last year), has shown consistent growth at retail. This of course means that if something is sold at retail then something needs to made and sold from a supplier or manufacturer to replace it.
Navigating the disruptions of lockdowns and border closures has created challenges for suppliers and retailers, but the bright flame of consumer demand has gotten even brighter through all this, meaning increased opportunity for all.
One of the larger challenges from the supplier perspective is:
• With decreased store visitations how do you know what product of yours has sold and what has not? (Historically many retailers have not been diligent in replacing fast sellers on a regular basis. Do you think that will change for the better in more challenging times? Have retailers ever said, “I was waiting for you to visit to place an order”?)
Are you getting more special orders through from retailers?
The Vibe figures from the month of February 2021 show that there was an increase of 20% in new special orders at retail over picked up or cancelled orders for the month. These of course, need to be filled by suppliers or manufacturers so that the retailer can complete the sale.
To me these numbers indicate that retailers are either:
- Not replacing fastselling stock regularly enough (too much caution could easily result in reduced sales)
- The retailers have let the range/ category shrink to a critical point where they struggle to meet their customers’ needs. (What about the customers who look and do not see but don’t ask they could order?)
Neither retailer nor supplier wins out of either of those scenarios. Therein lies the opportunity for those suppliers that break free from the old patterns of behaviour and engage with their retailers to get a better result for both parties. Some of those pattern changes required in this changed environment are more about behaviour rather than more cost investment.
And yes, there is a process to allow suppliers to ‘see live’, their product (stock and sales), from retailers that sign off on permission to do so. This is called Vendor Pulse and it provides product performance transparency and the opportunity to generate more sales for suppliers and retailers without the delay factors of time and distance.
Want to know more? Just contact me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you could call me on 07 5574 0322