It’s no secret that retailers possess great power over the success of individual brands that they supply. Retailers act as the middleman between your product and the end user. Consumers also develop loyalty to certain retailers for a variety of reasons. Because of retailers’ influence on their bottom line, suppliers are now allocating two-thirds or more of their marketing budgets to trade marketing, in-store promotions, and cooperative advertising, as opposed to marketing directly to consumers through media advertising or consumer promotion. It is more crucial now than ever before for suppliers to maintain the best possible relationships with retailers.
Why Communication Is Key
Field reps act as the “eyes and ears” of suppliers when they are out on client visits. It is the duty of these employees to make sure that the proper merchandising strategies are being carried out in various retail locations. Mobile software solutions are available that allow reps to communicate with back office managers in real-time using the software’s instant messaging tool. Aside from conveying merchandising problems, reps can inform management of competitors’ in-store activity, consumers’ behaviors at a particular store, or resolve client dissatisfaction issues. Reps can also share high-resolution images with back office managers in real-time, in addition to sending text. This feature is a great benefit of a mobile software solution, as it aids in correspondence when words alone don’t suffice. The software’s communication abilities equip reps to efficiently handle problems they face at retail locations. This translates to higher touch on the shelf by consumers of your product.
The instant communication between field reps and managers creates more time for reps to focus on serving the client instead of fussing with paperwork. Not only are paper forms expensive, but they can be lost, destroyed, or become quickly outdated. Custom forms, purchase orders, or merchandising audits that are stored and shared digitally are a great solution to this problem. The ability to communicate with management instantaneously shows retailers that reps are serious about fixing problems as they arise, thus fostering a more trusting relationship.
The Value of Data Collection
Field reps that are able to effectively collect and use data to make predictions present an advantage to retailers that supply their product. With Mobile CRM Software, reps have the ability to collect and share data such as product orders, notes about past client visits, consumer observations, or new client activity. This data can be delivered instantly to managers who are then able to design and implement the best possible merchandising strategies for increasing sales. Additionally, data collected using a mobile software solution can be used to make predictions that would prevent out-of-stock problems, benefitting both suppliers and retailers. Retailers are happy to know that they won't have to refuse customers because of out-of-stock issues, and suppliers are content knowing that their products are always readily available for purchase.
Field reps who utilize a mobile software solution can also access data that spans across multiple client accounts, thus demonstrating which merchandising techniques for their products are proving the most successful. Retailers may become interested in adopting strategies that are highly lucrative at other stores. This is another example that shows the mutual benefits a mobile software solution provides to both suppliers and retailers.
At the end of the day, the rapport your company has with its retailers has a direct bearing on its success. By leveraging Mobile CRM Software, suppliers can get an upper hand over the competition in terms of the quality of service they are able to deliver to retailers. Through real-time communication and sophisticated data collection, field reps who use Mobile CRM Software are able to efficiently address retailers’ concerns. This ability proves invaluable for managing both parties’ mutual relationship.
Victoria is a Marketing Associate at Repsly, where she leads the company's P.R. and social media efforts. You can also catch her prepping for slew of exciting industry events. A New England native, Victoria has spent time living in Italy and traveling throughout Europe before settling back in Boston. When she's not planning her next trip, V is probably tasting wine or brushing up on her Italian.