Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Many times, when I talk to retailers about sharing data with vendors, I hear some version of “Well they are not asking for it,” or “only if they can show me how they will use it.”

It reminds me of the classic quandary…Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Or in this context… which comes first… the retailer offering to share data, or the vendor requesting data?

Innovative leaders in any industry are always optimists.  They are the ones that don’t wonder if a vendor will use the data or how, they wonder how big of an improvement in sales can happen by even one good decision.  They wonder if they can get another couple percentage points closer to the perfect order by sharing data.  What would happen if vendors were empowered to be category captains and proactively helped to manage in-stock performance?  What if they really analyzed POS data in the way your internal team does?  They don’t know the answers.  But they are optimistic about the opportunity.  They do some research, learn others have had success, determine the risk is low, and take a step forward.

Notice I said leaders are optimists, not fools.  I own a business.  I understand the realities of limited resources and prioritizing a portfolio of possible projects.  But given the abundance of research on the benefits of sharing data with vendors, this project falls solidly in that coveted upper right quadrant.  If you don’t belive me, google ECR, DDSN, or CPFR and read the case studies.

So how does one insipre a VP of Merchandising, or Supply Chain, or Purchasing to take that first step?  How do you position the WIFM?

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