Streamlining vendor onboarding and discovery for retailers

by | Oct 31, 2019

Vendor onboarding and discovery can be a challenge. When expanding product assortment, retailers are used to the process being an incredibly slow one. It’s not atypical for them to spend as many as eight weeks just sourcing vendors for a particular new product, and another sixteen weeks setting them up in their systems.

That’s six whole months just to add ONE new line of products to their assortment!

Following that timeline, retailers would need their entire product lineup nailed down by the end of May to be ready for the holiday shopping season.

While the timeline can be sped up, it’s only possible if the supplier is already capable of matching their data and processes to the retailers. If they’re not, their speed-to-market is measured with a calendar, not a stopwatch.

Better processes accelerate your trading partner relationships

Speed to market is an important factor in any new retailer-vendor relationship. Time is money as they say, so the sooner you can start selling a hot product, the sooner you’re able to start reaping the profits.

Being able to streamline vendor discovery and vendor onboarding becomes especially significant as you begin looking for products to add to your assortment for holiday shopping season. Minor hiccups can become bigger ones, costing time and money, like:

  • Being at the mercy of larger vendors who insist on you continuing to do business with them the way they prefer.
  • Or, having to educate smaller vendors on how to meet your system and business requirements.

Either of these scenarios is time-consuming and eats into your bottom line, so if you can find ways to streamline either of these processes, it’s a win for all.

Increasing speed-to-market gets you a leg up on the competition

In the past, if a vendor wasn’t up-to-speed with their technology (or couldn’t do business the way you wanted them to) you had to wait until that vendor matured –– or onboard the vendor anyway, in the hopes they were able to come through when you needed them.

Perhaps you are currently getting more vendors who don’t know how to work with a large retailer — which is entirely possible, as more and more small vendors are appearing every day — you still need to onboard them quickly.

If you’re doing your due diligence, you’re already looking for up-and-coming vendors, even those just starting and shipping out of their garages. Those smaller vendors may not be able to do everything you need them to, but if they have that hot product everyone is clamoring for this holiday, then figuring out a solution for how to work with them is in your best interest.

Having the ability to access an existing retail network is critical in helping you to streamline this process down from months to weeks, allowing you to begin offering new products as quickly as possible.

Tapping into an established retail network expands your opportunities

Rather than small vendors investing inexpensive technology to meet specific retailers’ standards, networks make it easy for vendors to find the best fit for their businesses, connect once, and share data almost immediately through an integrated system.

The good news is that with the Community service, SPS Commerce gives you the ability to easily onboard your trading partner community to your new system and business requirements. Our full-service vendor onboarding capabilities have supported and managed the vendor onboarding process for businesses large and small, and we can help you to navigate this otherwise challenging process.

If you’d like more information on how to improve vendor discovery and vendor onboarding, visit the SPS website for more information or contact an SPS Commerce representative today.

Amp up your retail merchandising strategy.

Amp up your retail merchandising strategy.

Discover, evaluate and onboard trading partners and products from a network of 80,000 connections and 35 million SKUs.

Michele Kamenar

Brand Communications Content Strategist at SPS Commerce
Michele Kamenar is a brand communications strategist for the SPS Commerce marketing team. She is responsible for building and maintaining relationships that promote the SPS brand through messaging, creative storytelling and thought leadership content that highlights e-commerce strategies and topics related to retail supply chain optimization.
Michele Kamenar

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