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Ray Allegrezza

Give retailers what they want with accurate delivery dates, inventory tracking

October 7, 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 what they expect from their

suppliers are 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!