If you are a wholesaler, you know that getting the right sales data from your retailers can sometimes be a hassle.
On one hand, you want to be able to demand certain standards for retail reporting. But on the other hand, you want to remain on good terms with your salespeople, so you may instinctively want to be careful about how much you push them.
What is the best path for a wholesaler trying to track and maintain accurate retail data? Here are a few pointers:
If it all possible, give your retailers a standard form on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that they can fill out and submit to you on a regular basis. The form should include information about your products, including the price per item, number of items sold, quantity of items left in inventory and total items sold.
Using a tool like DataRails, you can easily consolidate this data to give you a clear picture of how your business is performing. In fact, DataRails will be able to consolidate the data even if your retailers opt to fill out a completely different Excel spreadsheet.
Setting fair and profitable prices can be complicated. You need to take into account the cost of materials, labor and overhead expenses, as well as how much profit you wish to earn. You also need to be aware that many retailers use keystone pricing, meaning they essentially double their cost of the product to arrive at a 50% markup. In addition, bulk or volume pricing is important, as is setting the Minimum Order Quantity, or MOQ.
Regardless of which prices and policies you choose, bear in mind that it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to make the pricing as simple as possible. Create clear and straightforward pricing rules so that your retailers can report their figures easily.
An effective incentive program can not only help you boost sales and expand market share; it can also help strengthen your business relationships. Consider offering discounts and merchandise to your high-performing retailers to encourage them to sell your products, or to those who refer their colleagues. These gestures will build commitment and encourage your salespeople to make the effort to provide you with accurate and timely reports.
Keep in mind that your distributor is not your customer, but your partner. Both of you must work together to make sure that the expectations of your true customers are met. Clearly define what you expect of them and what they can expect from you, and regularly keep in touch so that you stay on track and meet your goals.
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