Buyer Case Study: Using Checklists to Enhance Supplier Meetings  9/7/2016

For buyers, there is nothing more frustrating than sitting across from a supplier only to learn that they are not adequately prepared to engage in an effective discussion. And when you only have 10 or 20 minutes for that discussion, the more prep the supplier can do up front, the more efficiently that time will be used.

During ECRM’s Global Wine, Beer & Spirits EPPS I had lunch with Jim Goldade, Buyer, Alcohol & Tobacco, Community Services Command for the Coast Guard Exchange, which is leveraging the company’s retailer profile – which is listed in the printed guidebooks handed to suppliers when they register for an EPPS, as well as in the ECRM Connect App – to provide sellers with a detailed checklist of all the questions they plan to ask during their meeting.

“The time spent with the vendors who were prepared to answer these questions was more productive," said Goldade.  "The conversation started with product and programs, instead of taking the time to explain who we were, who they were and what we were trying to accomplish. The prepared vendors targeted specific product that met our criteria. It is a win/win for all parties when everyone is aware of what we are looking for.”

Buyers and sellers create their profiles in the online prep site for each ECRM EPPS on the MarketGate platform. When the Coast Guard Exchange created its description, in addition to a brief, one paragraph overview (which is basically where many retailers stop), it included the following information, which is below in verbatim:

Event Focus: We are looking for wine, beer and spirit items to possibly add to our 2017 assortment or the 2016 holiday season. We are interested in any wine country, category or varietals that are trending up. These are the price points we have interest in: $7.99 to $24.99. Our category review process begins with new item review in the October to November time frame.
  1. Where are you currently selling your product?
  2. What retailers are currently selling your product and at what price?
  3. What market share (IRI/Nielsen) do you have?
  4. How long have you been in business?
  5. What are your growth plans?
  6. Where is your shipping facility located?
  7. What other products do you make or distribute?
  8. Do you sell to any other exchanges?
  9. What is your marketing plan?
  10. Do you do tastings?
  11. Do you have a coupon program?
  12. How do you promote your products at store level?
  13. How will your product help generate sales and gross margin for CGX?
Such a checklist will help keep the conversation on point for both the buyer and the seller, and leaves no questions about what information the buyer is looking for. It can be tailored for your retail organization's specific needs, and is a great way to leverage the online prep site to get the most from your EPPS meetings

Joseph Tarnowski

VP Content

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