Collaboration for consumer benefit – tips for retailers and suppliers

As the busiest time of year approaches, retailers have welcomed the government’s decision to open all ‘non-essential’ stores across the country when England’s lockdown comes to an end on the 2nd of December. 

Even stores in the strictest tier 3 regions will be able to open their doors and start serving customers who will no doubt be looking to finish off their Christmas shopping. 

While this is promising news, retail joins other sectors in continuing to navigate challenges brought about by the pandemic. 

Writing for Retail Week, data science firm Precima’s director, Martin Black, argues that collaboration between retailers and suppliers is now more important than ever, especially where consumer benefit is concerned. 

He explains that while partnerships are improving across the board, especially within the grocery segment, both parties only gave their partners modest satisfaction scores when it came to certain aspects of collaboration.

The company carried out a survey among executives in the UK, Germany, France and US, from 105 retailers selling grocery products as well as 105 large CPG suppliers. 

When quizzed on their overall experiences across the last two years, 92% of retailers and 85% of suppliers stated that collaboration has improved. Just 1% said it had deteriorated. 

However, in five of the collaboration dimensions rated most important by the respondents, partner performance satisfaction falls behind with a gap between higher importance ratings and lower satisfaction ratings. 

Examining these gaps highlights five opportunities for improvement for both retailers and suppliers:

1. ‘Deliver on what they promise’

Featuring top of the list among retailers, three-quarters say that supplier reliability in delivering what was promised is ‘very important’ or ‘important’ to them. Though, there’s a gap with expectation and actual performance in this area, with only 62% saying they are ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’.

2. ‘Has vision for the future’

Second on the list, retailers wanted their suppliers to be always thinking about the future, with 72% rating this as important. Yet, just 59% said they are satisfied, which represents the widest gap of all five categories.

It’s vital that suppliers operate with the future in mind at all times, especially when it comes to issues around sustainable practices. This is one of the reasons why we launched Delta Zero; the award-winning strategy aligns our operations to key sustainable development goals from the UN and creates a model for us to deliver value for customers by helping them achieve their sustainability objectives. 

This strategy includes measures like introducing longer-lasting, reversible and reusable materials that reduce both waste and pollution. 

3. ‘Understands customers’ 

The ability to understand customers was rated important by seven in ten retailers, while 62% said they were satisfied in this area. Shopper insights from retail companies are an important enabler in this, however the report revealed that data often proves difficult for suppliers to access. 

4. ‘Ability to respond quickly to market and/or consumer trends’ 

In total, 70% of retailers said this competency is important, though 64% are satisfied. Suffice to say, the ability to respond to adapting trends is key to maintaining strong retailer-supplier relationships –  particularly in the current climate, where trends and behaviours are evolving at a rapid pace. 

At The Delta Group, we have our finger firmly on the pulse when it comes to new and emerging trends. A great example of this is the development of a standardised range of physical retail units to maximise consistency and economies. We’ve also created an innovative free-standing display unit (FSDU) that auto-assembles. 

5. ‘Understand my business priorities’ 

While 58% of retailers said it was important for suppliers to understand their business goals and priorities, 46% said they were satisfied that they were delivering on this. Again, there’s room for improvement. 

The Delta Group is committed to service excellence. We’re dedicated, client-focused people who value the long-term partnerships we have with clients, and we’ll work collaboratively with you to lead effective change and empower your strategic goals. 

We also operate a continuous improvement plan, which focuses on pioneering innovation, driving sustainability and reducing time to market. Find out more about each of our services or get in touch with one of our experts today.