Mar 20 2015
To put it simply, my life has been a journey. From the class clown to the honours student, the landscaper to the white collar analyst, suburban dweller to the world traveler – my life has taken many twists and turns. But most recently I took a major step forward when I had the opportunity to join Askuity, one of Canada’s most innovative retail startups. While I always knew that my personality and skill set would be best served in a startup environment, my life journey brought me to the doors of a multi-billion dollar retailer to get a taste of the corporate lifestyle before I finally landed home at Askuity in 2015.
I imagine you’re asking yourself: “Asku-what?”. Well, Askuity is a Toronto-based software company that specializes in retail analytics. Here at Askuity we have spent the last 2 years building a leading edge POS analytics and retail execution software platform to support retailer-supplier collaboration and drive retail success. For vendors, the Askuity platform automatically aggregates data from all of your data-sharing retail partners, bringing insights to your entire team to help identify growth opportunities, improve sell-through visibility, and enhance promotional ROI across your entire retail network. For retailers, Askuity provides the most user friendly and insights-driven portal solution for your vendor partners – allowing vendors to easily interpret their downstream data to drive sales and reduce costly out of stocks.
Before joining Askuity I was afforded the opportunity to work with one of Canada’s largest retailers with over 1,200 locations spanning across the country. To say the experience taught me a lot about the retail industry would be a major understatement. In 2013 I was invited to join the company’s leadership development program where I rotated between three departments over the course of two years. This allowed me to truly understand the ebbs and flows of the retail environment and absorb valuable insights about the retail industry as a whole.
Between working with vendors, category managers, marketing consultants, store owners, buyers, merchandisers, and everyone in between – I saw the best and the worst of the corporate retail environment. Most importantly this experience taught me the importance of collaboration, both internally and externally. The most successful teams internally were those that worked collaboratively, allowing data and information to act as their guide. The same can be said for our vendor partners. Those vendors who worked closely with our internal teams to jointly plan promotions and request POS data for improved in-store execution typically performed better than those vendors that were “flying blind”. Above all I was able to take away one important reality about the retail industry: the foundation for retailer-supplier collaboration is broken.
There are a variety of factors that can tarnish vendor-retailer relationships, but nothing is more damaging than the distrust that stems from mismatched metrics. Far too often I was involved in situations where our POS or inventory data did not seem to match up with the vendor’s internal numbers – causing each side to question the other side and the legitimacy of their data. As you can imagine, the retailer usually has the final word in these situations, however, this power dynamic just polarizes the two sides even more. This type of conflicting relationship is a surefire way to damage the vendor-retailer relationship, which only serves to constrain the potential synergies that can exist when retailers and vendors work together towards a common goal.
It wasn’t until I learned about Askuity that I realized a solution already exists for these common pain-points experienced by both vendors and retailers. By inviting retailers and vendors onto one analytics platform, the Askuity solution helps to establish “one version of the truth”, allowing both parties to work from the same set of accurate data and jointly plan their businesses in harmony with one another. As someone who understands the potential consequences of data silos and un-collaborative retail environments, it was clear to me that Askuity solves a very real problem for vendors and retailers alike.
With experience as my guide, I intend to find brands and retailers who can empathize with the issues discussed above. Working together we can build a stronger foundation for retail collaboration and allow this harmonization to benefit both sides. Whether you’re a forward-thinking vendor or a data-driven retailer, Askuity can help take your business to the next level through improved collaboration and strategic joint-business planning.
Want to see the Askuity platform in action? Try a free demo today.