RetailWire panelists weigh in at least once a year on the subject of retailer/supplier collaboration. In one sense, the growth of “big data” has forced more collaboration and information sharing between stores and vendors. But don’t kid yourself about who holds most of the cards in the relationship. Here’s my take:
In a sense, the partnership between retailers and suppliers is more genuine than ever, if you judge based on data sharing and collaborative planning. But there is little doubt that retail-industry consolidation over the past 15 years has swung the balance of power toward retailers. With stores’ focus on quarterly results and private brands — rather than long-term strategic planning — it’s no wonder that most vendors have less influence over the “partnership” agenda than in the past.