How Retailers Can Better Leverage Vendors


By Michele Salerno

Take a moment to think about your ideal customer. The easy answer might be “the person who spends the most money,” but there’s really so much more that composes an ideal customer. Maybe it’s someone who doesn’t take a lot of your team’s time to make a purchase, or perhaps it’s the person who always pays in cash using exact change — it could even be the customer that shops at the end of the month when revenue matters most.

The point is, you place value on your best customers, whoever they are. That could mean you hold merchandise for them when you wouldn’t for most customers or you stay open a bit later to let them finish shopping. You take more care with them because you know that losing them is costly.

Now think about this: You don’t only have customers, you are a customer. Every vendor that you purchase from sees you as a customer. Like any business, they treat their ideal customers best and provide perks. And you don’t necessarily have to spend the most money with a vendor to be a great customer.

When vendors view their relationships with you in a positive light, they know that the cost of losing your business is high. As a result, they will often invest more time, money and resources toward your business. Those are all things that translate directly into boosting your ability to serve your customers better.

Here’s what you can do to strengthen those relationships and the benefits that you will reap.

Integrate Vendor Catalogs

When you digitally integrate vendor catalogs with your retail management platform, you can easily browse for items that you would like to carry and import them into your database. This automatically populates your database with SKU images and descriptions provided by vendors with no manual entry on your part, saving hours of work. Vendors love it because they no longer have to alert you to catalog updates — you can see all the latest products they offer with a simple refresh. They have confidence that you are working with the exact details and specifications they provide with no possibility of error.

Automate Purchase Orders

You never have to worry about unexpected out-of-stocks when your purchase orders are generated and fulfilled automatically.

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