The Role of the Supplier Is Changing

The relationship between suppliers and retailers is no longer merely about products and prices. Today, retailers are relying on their suppliers to help them sell products faster, optimize their in-store assortments, and better serve their omnichannel customers.

More than ever, retailers and their suppliers need to have a partnership based on cooperation and the ability to harness valuable business information to help boost profitability. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through supplier data sharing.

According to a recent study, 92 percent of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are using at least one cloud-based business solution. This makes sense, considering that 63% of SMBs in a 2010 Microsoft study reported that cloud technologies help them to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Large companies too are increasingly embracing cloud solutions to reap these same benefits.

It appears suppliers are beginning to recognize the importance of supplier collaboration software. This has left many now scrambling to adopt the latest retail technologies to build stronger business relationships with their most coveted retail accounts.

Enter: Supplier POS Analytics

Suppliers can actively begin to build networks and create trust with retailers through advanced information systems. Supplier POS analytics equips suppliers with insightful business information that improves the financial health of a business for three reasons:

1. Hands-Free Aggregation of POS Data

Let’s take a retailer like Walmart. Imagine just how many transactions are completed across their entire store network each and every day (in fact, they currently process just over 1 million transactions every hour).

Now let’s consider that for each transaction, every detail is recorded and stored in a database to be shared with Walmart’s many suppliers. Now consider the fact that these suppliers are also provided the very same POS data from other large retailers such as The Home Depot, Target, Macy’s, etc. The sheer volume of data coming in every single day can be crushing for even the largest of businesses, never mind the effort required to analyze the data by chain/store/SKU and extract profitable insights.

Spreadsheets are archaic and time consuming, and old-school databases don’t have the capacity. On the other hand, POS analytics platforms can handle these tasks with little to no intervention – while allowing a company to better understand its most important metrics.

2. Fast and Meaningful Insights

The vast amount of information that cloud-based POS analytics platforms can handle is why companies of all sizes (actually, 87% when measured within SMBs) have turned to cloud solutions to manage their business analytics needs. But thankfully these supplier collaboration software solutions have been able to do more than just store mass amounts of data. Cloud-based solutions can summarize and analyze thousands of lines of transactional data in a matter of seconds.

Supplier POS analytics software is the ideal solution for suppliers who want a cost effective solution to quickly pull insights from their point-of-sale metrics. The best solutions, such as what we offer at Askuity, allow suppliers to easily aggregate all of their downstream data – regardless of retailer or data source. Furthermore, supplier analytics platforms allow sales and marketing teams to quickly identify the insights that matter most to them, such as promotional ROI or product sell-through. Best of all, it’s presented using intuitive data visualizations, dashboards, and automated reports – all of which can be accessed on your mobile device.

3. Fact-Based Decisions

The happy ending in all of this: the supplier is no longer ‘flying blind’. The suppliers of the twenty-first century have the ability to make decisions based on real data, without being bogged down by the week-long data management and reporting processes that eat up valuable time and resources. For any company looking to move towards a more unified fact-based culture, supplier POS analytics platforms provide rich business information to employees across the company – whether that be high-level dashboards for management or detailed analytics for account managers and analysts. Most importantly, data is automatically updated in the background which helps companies avoid the typical bottlenecks associated with data collection and formatting.

The ability to make sound decisions based on business insights not only increases the effectiveness of existing supplier-retailer relationships, but it also increases how attractive the supplier is to other potential retailers… Something that should be at the top of every supplier’s wish list.