- A survey from software provider Symphony Gold reveals that retailers and manufacturers often have differing priorities when it comes to assortment, data gathering and store planning, Progressive Grocer reported.
- The report, which gathered responses from 250 CPG manufacturers, noted that both parties would benefit from closer collaboration, which could include better long-term planning and using technology to target opportunities.
- According to Symphony Gold’s survey, 46% of manufacturers describe their relationship with retailers as mostly collaborative.
Manufacturers and retailers are both interested in making the sale. But how they get to that point reveals some disconnects that could weaken their combined strategy.
According to the Symphony Gold study, 49% of retailers are focused mainly on new product introductions and SKU rationalization measures, while 48% of manufacturers would like to focus on improving existing opportunities and trend forecasting. In that same vein, manufacturers reported spending too much time mining data for retailers without developing actionable insights.
Translation: Retailers are focused on turns, manufacturers on building their brands.
The two parties are never going to be in perfect harmony, and it would be interesting to see what retailers, who weren’t surveyed, think about the differing priorities between themselves and their suppliers. Nevertheless, Symphony Gold’s point about the need for collaboration is resonant. Manufacturers tend to know their customers intimately, while retailers often know the exact price point and merchandising plan that will motivate purchase.
Both sides should take the time to listen to each other when they can. That can be difficult, especially for retailers coordinating thousands of products. But top performers could offer stores insights that go beyond a single category or product. Wal-Mart, for one, has chosen to get its buying team more involved in the operations of its supply partners.
Retailers typically hold the power in these relationships, but that could be shifting as more and more manufacturers attempt to sell directly to consumers or through an e-commerce provider.