Sharing data between suppliers and retailers is transforming the jewelry industry

IIT TOOK A few years, but our market is experiencing a rapid and fundamental change in business-to-business dynamics. Brands and retailers are not only embracing the use of data in their business relationships, they are also insisting that their partners work with them.

Less than a decade ago, retailers’ resistance to sharing data with their suppliers was the norm. Brands, on the other hand, had little incentive to do the extra work needed to help their retailers with inventory analysis and planning. But everything changed very quickly. What started as a slow stream of data sharing has become a tsunami.

At the fall shows, suppliers learned from their top retail partners that if they didn’t start helping them by getting the job done before their appointment, there would be no appointment. Retailers recounted conversations with their suppliers that left no room for anything less than transparency and partnership.

There are several triggers involved in this change in attitude.

Retailers are busier than ever, but finding and training staff has been a challenge. This has left many lacking in time and energy, both of which are necessary for the work that deep analysis and inventory management require. These retailers have had to hand over some of that management to salespeople, who now have the tools, training, and information to help them.

The sales reps who show up to meetings with a plan and a proposal are the ones who entice their existing customers to share data, which completely changes the relationship. Those that don’t lose market share.

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Collaborative interaction has become the solid foundation for wholesale and retail jewelry sales, replacing the flimsy cards of schmooze and shlepp.

Across the 60+ brands we currently work with in the BIG Network, more and more reps are using Balance to Buy to manage inventory for their retail partners. And of the roughly 1,000 retailer doors we receive data from, there are more and more buyers letting them.

This trend will only continue to grow even more self-reinforcing. The tsunami of retailers, suppliers and sales reps who embrace the simple yet powerful concept of collaboration and a win-win game plan will be the only ones left standing.