Dynamic and seamless collaboration is possible
The deliberate, periodic rhythms of joint category management, merchandising, and promotion planning have traditionally defined collaboration between trading partners in food, mass, and drug retail.
Today, these activities give way to a more dynamic reality powered by advanced data analytics tools that enable more rapid consumer-centric decision-making.
In the past, joint business planning focused primarily on the analytics used to create the category plan and invest trade funds. Now it’s about much more — availability of products, deeper analytics, and personalized marketing — are just a few elements.
With so much more information that needs to be shared, traditional processes such as file-sharing and spreadsheets are too unwieldy, time-consuming, and no longer up to the task. Today’s collaboration efforts must be seamlessly connected — both across internal business silos and between trading partners.
Shared access, shared benefits
It is desirable to share retail data and category insights via a cloud-based portal designed for collaboration. At NIQ, we provide just that with our solution, Connected Collaboration, powered by NIQ Activate. A core principle is that data access must be rights-based, according to the role and authority of each user. The interface must be intuitive enough so that users can readily access planning and analytics tools to empower areas of vital interest, including:
- Merchandising and category management
- Supply chain analytics
- Personalized offer creation, management, and measurement
- Digital media activation
- Efficient and effective joint business planning
It is now table stakes for retailers to host a collaboration portal and invite suppliers to participate. The benefits should accrue to all stakeholders in the form of planning efficiency, superior category performance, sales, profits, and measurability of those outcomes.
From each according to their abilities, with benefits to all
It is understood that the heavy consumer data and analytics users sit primarily on the manufacturer’s side. They have the people, experts, capacity, and budgets to cover planning and analytics activities that would overwhelm a retailer.
Retailers have comparatively less bandwidth, capacity, and budgets to complete even traditional category management work. With hundreds of categories to manage, they depend on their trading partners to bring them insights and plan options — and they should enable brands to use the retailers’ own data to help formulate them.
Cover the complete collaborative landscape
Connected Collaboration, powered by Activate, provides the framework that retailer and supplier stakeholders need to work together across a full range of essential business activities.
Leading brands have long been vital partners in category management and promotion planning. When a retailer provides Connected Collaboration access, participating manufacturers can rapidly and accurately provide insights to support proposed merchandising and promotional plans, including personalized offers. Importantly, that includes visibility into how those plans will intersect with key operational aspects of the business.
Similarly, Connected Collaboration enables data-driven decisions for assortment, pricing, and promotions. It is the foundation of collaborative supply networks, providing the capability to balance short-term supply and forecasted demand.
Connect all stakeholders and manage change
For this to happen effectively, trading partners need mechanisms that connect all stakeholders, not just the merchant and the seller. The collaborative process must now reflect the interests of marketers, merchants, loyalty program leaders, data analysts, pricing analysts, supply chain experts, brands’ data scientists, promotion planners, sales teams, and brand marketers. All should share a Full View™ of data and insights aligned around the consumer that enables superior decisions and outcomes to include:
- Consistent data alignment
- Mutual goal alignment
- Outcomes alignment
Forging these connections will undoubtedly require some organizational change management within organizations. It is more imperative than ever to dissolve barriers between traditional internal business silos so internal stakeholders can work more effectively. The right collaboration software and data platform serve as a bridge between them, as well as between trading partners.
Retailers now have a golden opportunity to expand collaboration tools. The results will be a multiplier effect, growing sales and customer loyalty.
Connected Collaboration, powered by Activate, provides retailers and suppliers with one version of the truth, delivered via a robust suite with integrated data sources to ensure actionable insights. Our robust solution arms you with intelligence to quickly make business-critical decisions in a fast-changing retail environment.
Connected Collaboration is here
Want to learn how to take retailer-supplier collaboration to the next level?
About the author
Adam Horowitz, Senior Vice President, Toronto, CA
Adam has twenty-five years of experience as a Grocery Merchant, CPG Sales & Category management executive, and Customer Insights expert.
He has worked directly with some of the largest Retailers globally, helping monetize their POS, Loyalty and Supply Chain Data.
Adam leads NIQ’s Retail Collaboration business in North America.