Properly managed vendor relationships are vital for every retailer looking to grow their business. Not only do strong vendor relationships deliver better pricing and improve sales, but these relationships are key for a good inventory management system. With the right vendor relationship and inventory management system retailers can import vendor catalogs, automate purchase orders, display live vendor feeds on their website and drop ship from vendors directly to customers.
Part of a successful vendor relationship is being able to use your vendor as a resource. If done correctly vendors are going to put time, money, and resources towards your business.
Vendor Catalog Integrations
Using your vendor as a resource begins with vendor catalog integrations. Browse vendor catalogs, select the items you want to sell and import them into your database, including product descriptions and images. This import tool can be used to build your database and use your vendor’s descriptions and product information, as opposed to entering data manually, on your own. Smart retailers will constantly update against vendor catalogs at customized intervals to ensure the newest products make it to your store shelves, faster.
Purchase orders (PO’s) to vendors can then be automated, allowing retailers to stock inventory “just in time.” Automated PO’s eliminate human errors like illegible penmanship, inaccurate SKUs, disorderly or confusing purchase order templates, and more, which can be costly and time consuming. By setting your min/max inventory levels within your retail software, your system automatically creates PO’s when inventory hits the minimum quantity- preventing understocking and ultimately- lost sales. Once the PO is received the vendor automatically sends a digital PO acknowledgment confirming receipt of the order.
Perhaps even more exciting is the concept of leveraging your vendors to sell a much wider range of products on your E-Commerce site by selling vendors’ merchandise without ever touching it. With live, online vendor feeds, retailers can display vendor’s available inventory and MSRP’s, and in some cases 360 degree product images in real-time. Retailers can then have their vendors drop ship orders directly to their customers with their own company branding and packing slips. Offloading the fulfillment process to your vendors saves significant resources by eliminating the need for you to stock merchandise, manage inventory and process orders.
There are many ways in which retailers can better leverage their vendor relationships. In most all cases, vendors have significantly larger resources made available to them. The smartest retailers recognize this and take advantage of what could be available to them. With the right technology, partnering with your vendors will save you time, money, and effort.