With a flood of new data analytics tools at the fingertips of both manufacturers and retailers, there has never been more opportunity for effective collaboration towards meeting consumers wherever they are.
“Manufacturers and retailers suffer similar pain points… They have to continuously find new ways to excite and delight in a competitive marketplace with limited shelf space. Fighting for customers on the margin is a losing battle. But manufacturers and retailers can win by joining forces and aligning their strategy.” – Polly MacIsaac and Robert Howe, C Space
Traditionally, manufacturers have had to trust and rely heavily on their retail partners to promote and sell their products. As a result, brick and mortars and online retailers alike have become accustomed to operating relatively freely, while brand managers search for ways to ensure their branding efforts don’t get lost amongst their retail partners.
Unfortunately, in our fast-paced age of 24/7 communication and technological evolution, this segregation has greater negative potential to slow progress and ultimately lead to inconsistent messaging, outdated verbiage and, most importantly, customer frustration or dissatisfaction.
The paradigm shifts
The good news is that as our society becomes more integrated with digital, there are more accessible pathways to reach repeat or new customers—which is why many manufacturers are finally taking a greater interest in today’s Internet-savvy consumer and looking to meet them where they are with more engaging content.
With the ability to incorporate AR, VR, video, imagery, audio and GIFs into branded content, manufacturers can kill two birds with one stone by offering both customers and retailers an incredible 360-degree product view through the same online listing.
Herein lies a vital, cost-effective opportunity to completely change the compartmentalized industry paradigm, and keep an entire retail chain in lockstep—with both retailers and manufacturers contributing equally to the process.
“The benefits of collaboration are “tremendous,” said Joy Peters, a partner in the Consumer and Retail Practice at A.T. Kearney. “Companies have seen 10% to 15% lift in topline performance, 40% to 60% faster new product launches and up to 20% decline in total inventory. As the ties get stronger, so do the results.” – Alicia Fiorletta, Retail TouchPoints®
Maintaining the relationship
No doubt, the manufacturer-retailer relationship is a bit more complicated than most, especially considering that sales chains can involve numerous retailers. The days of being able to pick up the phone and contact each retailer to make adjustments are long gone, but solutions in modern technology can help make up for that.
To stay on top of content and connected to all retail partners, Brand Monitor and MAP Guard from PriceSpider are products that can help make sure brand guidelines are being followed, prices remain consistent and alert manufacturers to any “rogue” movements that might violate an existing agreement.
More importantly, these tools allow brands to analyze what channels are succeeding and which ones need tweaking. From there, manufacturers can easily work with retailers on problem areas and use combined analytical data from both ends to keep the audience engaged and coming back for more.
“There is no question that building the necessary bridges between retailer and manufacturer will be challenging, but the opportunity for companies that take this step to control the disruption instead of being a victim to it is already possible. The right combination of strategy, technology and true collaboration will separate the winners from the losers.” – Wayne Spencer, MediaPost