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Suppliers: The Cinderella of Retailer Engagement – Three reasons to invite them to the ball

If you strip back retail to its most simplistic form, you find three groups of people:

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Suppliers

Customers have PR and employees have employee engagement. But why has treating suppliers as individuals and driving performance through successful Supplier Engagement still so uncommon in the retailer’s repertoire?

Is it the complexities of supplier-retailer relationship?

Or perhaps your focus is elsewhere.

Or maybe just the fact that all this touchy-feely lark should be left to the ‘hippies in HR’.

Whatever your opinion, here are three reasons that you may want to invite suppliers to the engagement ball:

Suppliers are one of your most valuable assets

Answer two questions:

  • What is the impact of one customers?
  • What is the impact of one employee?

It’s highly unlikely that either will match the impact of one supplier.  Not only in a risk management sense; but products, innovation, quality and performance too.

Surely engagement of such a valuable asset should be a top priority?

Suppliers add value, not just costs

Supplier Engagement is about performance management and efficiency. However, it can also help retailers access the often untapped value within suppliers, especially true for Private Brand Retail.

Suppliers are the experts in what they do. That’s why you chose them as suppliers. With that expertise comes innovation - Innovation which can ultimately give you the competitive edge in the form of new products, new packaging, cost reduction or fresh ideas.

By spending time on supplier engagement and cultivating stronger relationships you can become their partner of choice and unlock the expertise and innovation within your supply base.

Suppliers are consumers too

It’s easy to forget sometimes but at the other end of the phone is a person. A person who buys things just like you or me. And it’s highly likely that they will have to make the decision between you and your competitors or pass comment on your business with family and friends.

Every interaction that person has with you on a professional basis will affect their buying decisions as a consumer. Build a positive working relationship and you will also build customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

Okay, it’s important. But where do I start? In the next blog I cover what Supplier Engagement actually is and I let you in on the secret – the secrets to successful Supplier Engagement.

Tags: Supplier engagement

David Taylor

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