Vendor-retailer relations: How important is “making nice”?

A brief comment from a recent RetailWire discussion about vendor/retailer relations. The question is whether both sides need to strive harder to “smooth out” bumps in the relationship…my opinion is more mixed:

Not all suppliers are equally easy for retailers to work with, and it doesn’t pay to put too much value on a smooth relationship all the time if both sides are in it for the long term. The smart retailer will acknowledge that he or she has more influence than the vendor in some partnerships, and less in others. It’s important to understand the “balance of power” — for example, a hot designer brand willing to sell your store exclusively may at first have the upper hand. It’s equally important — although a cliche — for both sides to pursue “win-win” outcomes, even though getting there may strain the personal ties between retailer and vendor.


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