How and Why Retailers Should Improve Relationships with Brands

A mutually beneficial relationship makes both parties stronger, better, and more effective than they could ever be on their own. Think of classic partnerships like Batman and Robin, Laverne and Shirley, or pineapple and pizza. (Okay, we know that last one’s a little controversial.) 

Whether it’s caped crime-fighters, comedic classics, or tropical fruits on Italian favorites, the right combination of efforts or inputs has the power to exponentially increase positive outcomes. And the same is true of retailers and their brands.

But of course, it isn’t always easy for brands and retailers to get along. As a retailer, it can feel like your brands are competing more than cooperating, and they may feel you don’t give them the attention they deserve. This can result in neither party putting effort into the relationship, causing you both to miss out on sales and market share.

In the world of omnichannel retail, consumers have a lot of choice about how and where they purchase products. And if you’re not working with your brands, it’s a lot harder to make your channels seem like the best choices. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key benefits of investing in your partnership with brands, then share one of the best ways to improve your relationships.

Why your relationships with brands matter

As you focus on delivering the best customer experience and maximizing revenue, brand relationships often fall by the wayside. The barrage of requests from the hundreds or thousands of individual brands in your catalog can start to feel like white noise. This is especially true if those brands seem replaceable, have complaints or high return rates, or don’t contribute much to your bottom line.

But even if you have all the leverage or these relationships seem one-sided right now, there are several significant reasons to invest in them—and helping them ultimately helps you, too.

The power dynamics are always shifting

Today, your top brands might be desperate to stay in your good graces and remain part of your catalog. But in commerce, the relationship between brands and retailers has historically fluctuated as new technology, consumer behaviors, and channels have emerged. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen demand for particular brands and product categories surge beyond what supply chains can handle—and as the power dynamics shift, who are these brands going to prioritize working with? The retailers that have supported and cooperated with them all along.

At times, you and every other retailer will need a brand more than that brand needs you. And when that happens, those brands will prioritize the retailers that have invested in their partnership and made these relationships most valuable.

Each party can bring more to the relationship

Improving your relationship with brands isn’t just about preparing for times when brands have more power. You can both get more out of the relationship right now. Information asymmetry is holding you both back from delivering a better experience and generating more sales. You have information your brands need to analyze their marketing campaigns and learn what traffic performs best on your site. And they can identify technical problems you aren’t aware of to scale high-intent traffic (shoppers), with the preferred goal to purchase at your site.

At PriceSpider, we see the results of healthy brand and retailer relationships all the time. More than 2,000 brands use our Where to Buy tool to send traffic to their retail partners. And our network of major retailers who have become data-sharing partners with PriceSpider share the results of that traffic with these brands, enabling them to see what their audience purchased and how well their campaigns and assets convert.

Working together helps you both optimize

You and your brands both want to create the best customer experience possible. And that’s a lot easier to do when you coordinate your efforts and empower one another to optimize product pages, marketing, and the customer journey.

As a retailer, you may be focused on how a particular product or brand performs in relation to the rest of your catalog. But a brand may be more interested in how it’s performing compared to its performance with other retailers. You might see trends and patterns that are working well on your site, while they see what’s making them successful elsewhere. These insights can help you both create a better experience and more effective product pages.

By becoming a data-sharing partner with PriceSpider, you enable your brands to learn which audiences convert the best on your site, which marketing campaigns are seeing the most traction, and how changes to their product pages impact performance. 

They might even learn that their traffic converts better in general on your site, allowing them to focus more of their marketing efforts around you.

But this data-sharing doesn’t just show your brands the results of their traffic. It also gives PriceSpider the ability to show you which SKUs and brands are bringing customers to your site. Even if these are products that don’t give you the best margins or move that much inventory, you want to know if they’re leading to other sales. PriceSpider’s originating SKU report will help you optimize promotions around the products and brands that get people in the door.

Strong relationships help you resolve mutual problems faster

Right now, you and your brands may have problems you aren’t even aware of—simply because you’re not sharing the right information with each other. For instance, if you both notice a drop in sales, sharing data through PriceSpider can help you narrow down what’s happening. 

Your brands might think they’re sending you traffic, but PriceSpider shows whether that’s the case. It enables brands to track clicks on links to their product pages on your site, traffic that comes to those pages from Where to Buy, conversions, and what else customers purchased. This is particularly valuable for addressing a few specific problems that tend to occur in ecommerce.

Sending customers to 404 pages

If you don’t share your data, then when sales are down, you might just assume a brand has stopped sending you traffic, or that their marketing campaigns aren’t performing well. The conversion rates on the product page may appear the same, but with fewer visitors than usual. But share your data through PriceSpider, and suddenly you and your brands can see a disconnect you otherwise wouldn’t notice: they’re sending you traffic through Where to Buy, and it’s not converting.

Low conversion rates are bad for everyone involved—you, your brands, and your customers. It means the brand’s efforts to drive traffic to your site aren’t as fruitful, and you’re not providing the best possible experience for your customers. And sometimes, it’s a sign that there’s a much bigger problem.

We’ve seen it before: a retailer changes ecommerce platforms, and Where to Buy continues sending customers to the old links, dropping them on 404 pages. Meanwhile, the brand sees that their traffic doesn’t convert on your site, and you see that the brand’s sales are way down. 

It’s a simple fix once you know what the problem is, but when a retailer doesn’t share data with PriceSpider, it’s easy for the brand and retailer to simply deprioritize each other. They shift their focus to other retailers. You shift your focus to other brands.

Driving traffic to competing brands

Another common issue: brands may discover that the traffic they send to your site is doing a frightfully good job selling their competitor’s products. Instead of converting on the product they came for, visitors are clicking ads and features for similar products. While on the one hand, a sale is a sale in your book, this obviously isn’t ideal for anyone (except the competitor). The product page looks like it has a low conversion rate. And the brand may stop sending you as much traffic. 

Share your data with PriceSpider, and both parties can see that one product is actually driving sales for another, and you can decide what to do about it together. You want the brands you carry to convert on their products—otherwise, why else would you give them shelf space? However you address it, sharing data helps you to improve the performance of the page(s) in question and maintain a healthy relationship.

Blocking bot traffic

PriceSpider’s Where to Buy uses our proprietary crawling technology to help brands display product prices, stock availability, ratings, and more from their retail partners in real-time. It crawls everywhere the SKU appears, and then brands can list those sites on their product pages, helping customers find their preferred path to purchase.

Increasingly, retailers are deploying technology to reduce bot traffic to their sites. Generally, this is good because most bot traffic can negatively impact your site’s performance. But not all bot traffic is bad. And if you’re using CAPTCHA or other tools to block bot traffic, Where to Buy can’t crawl your site, find those SKUs, and list you as an option. Considering that 2,000+ of the world’s leading brands use PriceSpider’s tools, you could significantly decrease your good traffic (and resulting sales) in your efforts to prevent bad traffic. 

How to improve your relationships with brands

There are lots of ways you can improve your relationships with brands, but one of the best steps you can take is to give brands the information they need to evaluate their performance and see what happens to the traffic they send you. 

Quarterly reports and raw sales data don’t give brands the insights they need to connect their marketing efforts to tangible outcomes. This information may sometimes highlight a problem, but they can’t pinpoint it, which can make them less motivated to maintain and strengthen their relationship with you. 

When you become a data-sharing partner with PriceSpider, your brands are  to make better business decisions, test and validate their ideas, and ultimately be more effective partners. And many of your competitors are already doing this. Top retailers all over the world share item-level data through PriceSpider, which enables brands to prioritize retailers in Where to Buy based on conversion rate and track the results of every marketing campaign and asset.

Your brands want to know whether it’s more cost effective to send you traffic from Facebook, Instagram, email, or their website—so they can double down on the channels that actually generate sales. They want to know what else their audience is buying when they click through links—so they can create bundles, new products, and better messaging. And they want to work with you to identify and address barriers to sales.

Partnering with us takes minimal effort, and it doesn’t involve any ongoing work. But it does make an ongoing investment in your relationship with the more than 2,000 brands who rely on our tools, including P&G, Sony, General Mills, Conagra, Nestle, Kraft Heinz, and Samsung.

Become a direct data-sharing partner with PriceSpider

Partnering with PriceSpider is easy. You retain full rights to your data and control over how it’s used—we just need permission to share very limited data with our brands in a very specific context. Your data doesn’t leave our platform, and we don’t use it to advise brands on how to spend their advertising budgets or anything else. No other retailers will ever have visibility into your performance, and only the brands sending you traffic will receive insights into how their traffic performs. Once we’ve established a partnership agreement, we’ll make a test purchase to ensure tracking works and then announce the partnership to our brands.

Ready to start a conversation about joining our network?

Get in touch with our retailer partnership team.

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