Exchange of data between partners: how to make it work?

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These days, more and more companies rely on business partnerships to achieve success. This is perhaps most commonly seen with retailers who depend on other vendors to supply crucial inventory to their warehouse, or who work with several third-party vendors to ship products directly to their customers.

With a number of different organizations working together to achieve the same goals, quality communication is essential for everything to run smoothly — and the seamless exchange of data plays a central role in making that happen.

After all, it’s one thing for your own office staff to know that you need to restock a certain item, but it’s quite another to ensure that accurate data reaches your vendor partners so that you can get the inventory you need.

Your ability to develop quality relationships with your partners will have a direct impact on whether or not you can deliver the seamless transactions your customers desire. As such, integrating systems such as SPS Commerce to assist with the exchange of data will have a huge impact on your success.

Here are a few ways you can use this system to improve data exchange with your vendor partners.

Retail Performance Analytics

Do you know which products are selling and why? How quickly are your top products selling? How much inventory do you have left in your warehouse? These are just a few of the crucial questions faced by both retailers and vendors as they try to maximize their sales and better balance their inventory. The reality is that changing market trends affect both sides of the partnership, and as such, the ability to exchange accurate and up-to-date data will help both partners make smarter business decisions.

SPS Commerce allows you to set up a collaborative retail performance analytics system that shares these essential data points between retailers and vendors. When both sides are able to look at sales numbers, inventory levels, and more, they become better equipped to strategically forecast sales and warehouse allocation needs, which reduces the risk of running out of stock during periods of peak demand.

Sharing data between retailers and vendors ensures that all involved parties are relying on the same source of information, eliminating disputes over its validity. With increased collaboration between parties, there can be a greater focus on formulating strategies that increase efficiency and sales.

Drop Shipping Improvements

These days, many retailers forgo the need to have a warehouse, instead opting to create drop shipping partnerships with multiple vendors. In such relationships, a customer buys from the retailer, who then places an order with the vendor. The vendor then ships the product directly to the customer. However, the customer will continue to receive tracking information through the retailer.

While this may sound somewhat complex, this business model has the potential to dramatically reduce overhead and increase profitability for retailers. Nevertheless, the exchange of data (especially of required EDI documents) is essential for a smooth retail process. Transaction documents cover everything from inventory availability to purchase order changes to ensure that a desired product gets to the customer in a timely manner.

Needless to say, when inaccurate data exchanges take place, costly miscommunications can occur, which in turn will disrupt the customer’s purchasing process. After all, no customer will be happy if their order is delayed for weeks because you didn’t realize it was out of stock with your vendor! By using SPS Commerce to automate and manage the sending of EDI documents, both vendors and retailers are assured of having accurate information for the sales fulfillment process.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you use drop shipping or a more traditional business model, integrating your business management software with SPS Commerce will allow you and your vendors to seamlessly exchange crucial data. As you and your vendors exchange inventory and sales data to create a better customer experience, you’ll be able to improve brand loyalty while simultaneously increasing your profits.

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