4 Keys to Successful Retailer-Vendor Relationships
To be a successful retailer, you need to have strong, collaborative relationships with your vendors. In theory, forging and maintaining these relationships seems quite simple, especially considering retailers and vendors have the same end goals: to make customers happy and sell products profitably.
However, as all retailers and vendors have seen firsthand, maintaining successful working relationships can be much more challenging in practice. Like any relationship, you need to get to know each other to determine how you can best work together. To get new relationships started on the right foot, or to get back on track with existing relationships, I recommend using the following strategies to help strengthen your partnerships with your vendors:
1. Keep an open and honest mind. Be true to your business, but also keep in mind that your vendors can act as a resource for new insights. Retailers need to be open to creative ideas that vendors bring to the table, and they shouldn't hesitate to try something new — as long as it helps you meet your mutual end goals. Every vendor has something valuable to contribute to you and your business.
2. Play to your strengths. Be realistic about what you and your business can do and play to those strengths. Retailers cannot be everything to everyone, but in knowing what your target is and who your customers are, and sharing that information with your partners, you may find that certain vendors have that exact same need.
3. If a vendor is failing you, tell them. Be honest and straightforward with your vendors and make them aware of any issues as they arise. Holding a pain point back will only hurt both of you in the end. For example, ask your vendor for new ideas when you need help moving through inventory that you're sitting on. Vendors partner with retailers that communicate openly and honestly, as there are always products that need help being moved. Remember, you're not in this sales game alone.