Everyday, the world of retail is becoming an increasingly complex and intricate place to do business as a DSD supplier. The lines separating online and brick and mortar continue to blur, profitability is in danger with retail giants driving historically low prices, and customers are demanding nothing less than a seamless experience through whatever channel they choose to shop. In 2018, these factors can put DSD suppliers in a place where they are trying to streamline and optimize their own internal workflows while also reacting and adapting to the decisions their retail partners make.
Additionally , many DSD suppliers have thin resources and little time to perform manual tasks and granular analysis. This is why many DSD suppliers today are investing in DSD software to improve collaboration with their retailers to make mutually beneficial data driven decisions:
These factors can put DSD suppliers in a place where they are trying to streamline and optimize their own internal workflows while also reacting and adapting to the decisions their retail partners make. On top of that, many DSD suppliers have thin resources and little time to perform manual tasks and granular analysis. This is why many DSD suppliers today are investing in DSD software to improve collaboration with their retailers to make mutually beneficial data driven decisions:
Having access to topline sales at your retailers is essential as a DSD supplier, but these topline sales won’t provide insights with a much deeper understanding if business is up or down. The true insights lie in what stores and products made up those sales or potentially more importantly, what ones didn’t. Leading DSD software solutions will provide sales in an easily accessible and visual format so you can quickly scorecard your business, but they will also let you drill down deeper into stores, products, and channels so you can see what segment of your business is impacting top line performance the most. These insights will allow you to make changes where and when they are necessary and will avoid knee-jerk reactions to topline sales trends.
Not so long ago brick and mortar retail dominated the landscape and customers that couldn’t find the product they wanted either had to substitute to something else or wait for their product to come back in stock. The importance of timely fulfillment and optimal in-stock levels simply was not as high. With the explosion of online retail and speedy delivery services customers will no longer accept a product not being available when they want it. An out of stock can not only lead to the loss of singular sale but can also have lasting impact on customer loyalty. Retailers know this and place a high amount of accountability on their suppliers to keep their shelves stocked whether they are digital or brick and mortar. This is where a DSD software analytics platform comes in. Comprehensive platforms allow you to track the amount of product ordered, the amount shipped, when that product arrived at the store or warehouse, and when that product made it on the shelf. If there is a breakdown in the supply chain that causes the product to not be on the shelf when it should be, these solutions can also quantify the impact of that out of stock in sales loss and margin loss. Tracking these inventory “checkpoints” from the order through the sale allow DSD suppliers to hold all parts of their supply chain accountable and can ensure sales are not lost due to product being unavailable when the customer wants it.
DSD’s are in a constant battle for shelf space and distribution against their competitors. Some businesses rely on relationships to maintain their space and distribution, some rely on the notion that things have always been a certain way so that is how they should be in the future, but with the uncertain retail landscape retailers are forgoing the status quo and turning to the only source of guidance that is tangible and objective. Data. More than ever, retailers are latching on to metrics and KPI’s that they believe indicate success and using these to make decisions on shelf space, distribution, and assortment.
So it is imperative that DSD suppliers have a wide arsenal of their own data and metrics at their disposal in order to make their case to the retailer. Strong DSD solutions provide advanced metrics such as penetration, opportunity by store, potential sales, and sales per foot that are easy to track over time so that DSD suppliers can prove why they deserve that extra space or additional store count. In 2018, DSD software can prove it's worth to the retailer from a data driven perspective will almost always win out against a company relying on anecdotes and salesmanship.
Taking a hard look at your pricing and promotion strategy can be a daunting and time consuming task as a DSD. With limited resources focused on other areas of the business, this topic can sometimes be ignored due to its complexity. Major opportunities are missed simply because no one has the time to compile hundreds of prices for hundreds of stores for hundreds of products. DSD solutions can automate this process on the front end and compile the data in ways that allow you to make pricing and promotion decisions quickly. Need to identify an optimal price range for your products that drives demand but saves margin?
Industry leading direct store delivery solutions can find that sweet spot for you. Need to see which of your promotions drove the most sales lift? Leading DSD software platforms will quantify those lift dollars so you know if you got the most bang for your buck. This data is not only valuable to DSD’s post mortem, it can also help predict and plan for the future. Using historical data and past year’s performance these solutions can forecast where pricing will need to be for upcoming drive times and will identify promotions in order to maintain positive year on year growth. Adjusting your pricing and promotions strategy doesn’t need to be the painstaking task it has been in the past with a comprehensive direct store delivery software.
In the end, DSD suppliers can have a wide variety of data needs when it comes to solving problems and capitalizing on opportunities that their business presents by leveraging DSD software. Advanced platforms have plenty of automated and canned reports that allow you to quickly address your needs, but sometimes you may want to dig into the data yourself and develop your own views based on the unique needs of your business.
Flexible direct store delivery software platforms offer ad-hoc analysis capabilities that will allow you to slice and dice your data the way you want to see it (and you won’t need a degree in data mining to do it). Whether you are the data oriented individual who likes dive deep, or you are someone who would rather pull a report and move on with their day, a DSD automation solution with a wide variety of flexibility and automation will give you what you need to boost your business.