Welcome to a new era of supplier collaboration


Welcome to a new era of supplier collaboration

The pandemic exposed many limitations in the extended retail value chain. Supply disruptions, out-of-stocks, lack of labor, the hastened move to online ordering, and rapidly changing consumer preferences have made it even more critical for retailers and suppliers to create true collaboration in a mutually beneficial way.

Supplier collaboration for a new generation of retail

Even before the pandemic, the retail industry was experiencing an unprecedented series of challenges—including channel competition, the commoditization of several key categories, and a sharp shift in consumer behavior due to both generational and financial changes—explained Dave Johnson, NielsenIQ’s President, Global Retail, during the New Era in Supplier Collaboration breakout session he co-led at NielsenIQ’s recent Consumer 360® conference.

These issues precipitated a supplier collaboration ecosystem that is overly complex and highly inefficient. Like so many other things in retail, the pandemic only served to accelerate these problems, requiring retailers, brands, and tech vendors to reinvent the customer engagement process.

NielsenIQ is leading this transformation with end-to-end solutions that harness customer and category data to improve business outcomes. The backbone of this effort to put the customer at the center of all business decisions, according to Johnson, is a new platform that facilitates collaboration for customer engagement by both retailers and brands.

While meeting shopper expectations remains as difficult as ever, Parm Singh, Global Head of Retail Analytics at NielsenIQ, said retailers and brands that are intent on winning sales and market share now require next-level collaboration that puts the customer at the center with an integrated, real time, always-on platform. This is what he and Johnson defined as Collaboration 2.0.

“We’re painting a picture of where we want to go as an organization,” Singh said. “It really is about saying, ‘How do I take a retailer and supplier and convert that into a true partnership, a true ecosystem where they’re working continuously together to make a positive impact on serving the customer?’”

The foundational imperatives for collaboration

NielsenIQ drives Collaboration 2.0 with one single connected platform enabling retailers to win with growth and suppliers to win with ROI. Singh said the customer wins when all of their needs are met, including local assortments, optimized promotions, personalized offers, and more.

The foundational imperatives for this new era of trading partner collaboration, affirmed Singh, begin by creating one version of the truth for transparent joint business plans and empowering category advisors with expanded data and capabilities. It then moves on to end-to-end connected strategy execution, from supply chain to customer-generated supplier ROI and retailer growth. The capstone is connected technology that delivers a user-friendly platform to suppliers while retailers maintain control.

Singh explained that Collaboration 2.0—which is based on building and aligning with one version of truth on a robust data platform and one set of connected data sources—requires the integration of data sets to enhance insights and inform all decisions. Successful retailers and suppliers will benefit from a comprehensive understanding of the customer in real time.

A new level of retailer and CPG supplier collaboration is needed to accomplish this goal, which is focused on four elements. The first three—market measurement, growth enablement, and retail analytics—have been part and parcel of the NielsenIQ value proposition for decades. The fourth, NielsenIQ Activate, was launched at Consumer 360® and is an integrated, self-serve platform that enables CPG manufacturers and retailers to collaborate with the right offer, to the right customers, at the right time at scale to drive growth.

NielsenIQ Activate helps brands and retailers act on shared insights and execute at retail to drive performance, Singh said. It delivers a new level of supplier collaboration with precision at scale to win the customer. And because logistics is now part of every trading partner discussion, the new NielsenIQ Supply Chain solution integrates with NielsenIQ Activate to mitigate disruptions and optimizes costs while maximizing revenue. It helps manage product and data flow in real-time and at store-level to improve forecasting, planning, and management through predictive analytics. The bottom line: it helps suppliers and retailers optimize campaigns for the best customer outcomes.

Tying all these elements together is Discover for Retail, an end-to-end connected interface from NielsenIQ that measures, manages and optimizes results and is designed to optimize supplier collaboration and achieve maximum profit.

The configuration of the NielsenIQ platform enables retailers and suppliers to work together on specific modules without having to change platforms.

“Brands and retailers have always looked to NielsenIQ to be an innovator. We’ve been doing that for almost 100 years—we’ve always been the company that’s first to break into a new coverage channel,” said Johnson. “Now you’re going to see us stepping into the forefront in a real affirmative way to bring collaboration back to you as a CPG, and you as a retailer to engage in back-and-forth that drives business growth.”

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