What buyers want
Ray Allegrezza -- Casual Living, October 27, 2011
It's a safe bet that ever since Adam met Eve, men have been trying (with varying degrees of success) to figure out what women really want.
And before I get your hopes up, I confess that I don't have an answer, much less the answer. But what I do have to share with you are the findings from a just-released study that I asked our research department to conduct with manufacturers and retailers who are on Furniture/ Today's Beyond The Top 100 list.
I was especially curious to find out what these directional retailers felt were the most important characteristics they expect from their suppliers.
The top attribute retailers said they expect from their suppliers is accurate delivery dates along with accurate inventory tracking systems.
Clearly, the recession has created great problems for many suppliers in the area of delivery, forecasting and inventory management.
The second item on their list is good customer service. In today's uncertain selling environment, retailers need to know that when problems arise, you have trained staff on hand to help them solve those problems in a timely and efficient manner.
Retailers told us that they want to do business with companies that are strong and financially stable. Clearly, they want to partner for the long haul and want to know that their suppliers have pockets deep enough to stay in the game.
We all know that brand is important. The fact that it shows up as the fourth-most important criterion for retailers confirms this. But worth noting is that it is not at the top of the list.
Next, retailers told us that a warranty program is important. Post-recession consumers have often become better stewards of their resources and have clearly communicated the value of a strong warranty to the retailers they do business with.
Retailers next identified the need for a steady stream of creative products that emphasize stylish designs as being imperative.
Other things that this group of merchants said they need from suppliers include: Effective sales and training programs, strong merchandising programs, compelling point-of-sale materials and exclusive distribution.
While I'm sure you've heard all of these requests before, I thought it couldn't hurt to share them and encourage you to compare their list of what they want to your list.
Here's hoping that retailer and manufacturer lists are the same!