Strengthening collaboration between retailers and suppliers—and subsequently, their ability to meet the needs of shoppers and boost revenues—has improved in recent years, although the benefits of increased data transparency have skewed toward retailers, and there is more progress to be made particularly in the area of strategic category management, a new survey shows.
According to the study, conducted by Coresight Research and Precima, 92% of suppliers and 85% of retailers, say cooperation between one another has improved over the past two years, leading to better customer satisfaction and business planning.
“But in an environment where consumer demand is changing by the hour, and with the high potential upside affecting up to one-fifth of overall revenue, it’s critical for retailers and suppliers to identify ways in which they can further strengthen collaboration and their lines of communication,” Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight, said in a release.
The study was based on surveys of 210 suppliers and retailers in the U.S. in Europe conducted in March.
According to the survey, 70% of retailers and 58% of suppliers cited responsiveness to consumer and market trends as key criteria for successful collaboration.
Retailers generally reported higher levels of gains from such improvements than suppliers: Two-thirds of retailers stated that improved collaboration has led to increased customer satisfaction; and almost six in 10 say it has led to improved business planning.
The survey data suggests that neither retailers nor suppliers are fully satisfied with their current collaboration, although retailers’ satisfaction regarding collaboration is higher than suppliers’ overall.
Areas of potential improvement include opportunities to leverage predictive analytics coupled with improved data sharing and more “result-oriented” collaboration, all of which could demand more of retail category managers.
“Retail category managers need to address data differences with their suppliers when working towards improving the overall customer experience,” the report concluded. “Success in category management depends on multiple factors, most of which are changing in a dynamic retail landscape, rendering the role more strategic. With the increasing number of data sources available through technology innovations and adoption, category managers need to leverage insights to recognize market shifts and customer trends.”