3 Retail Trends Amplify The Need For Faster Partner Integration

Retail is undergoing a major transformation globally. Consumer buying habits have changed, new economies are growing faster and traditional brick and mortar sales are in a funk. This has a direct impact on supplier relationships and B2B Integration will play a key role in this transformation.

The 3 trends re-shaping Retail today globally.

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Integration is the Key Component in Gartner’s New S&OP Model

Integration is the new stage in the Sales and Operations Planning maturity model that IT advisory giant Gartner has disseminated widely through business and industry worldwide.

The original 4-stage model – React; Anticipate; Collaborate; Orchestrate – did not adequately align supply chain strategy with anticipated consumer demand, argued industry executive David Vallejo. The new 5-stage model achieves this, he said.

“Stages three and four of this model evolve toward establishing a demand-driven S&OP process for a more profitable supply chain response that is aligned with strategy. Companies in these stages begin to look outside-in,” Vallejo said. “They sense and translate demand signals around their different products and channels, and they segment supply chain processes based on service expectations and volatility. Companies with the most mature processes extend their demand-driven approach to structured trading partner collaboration and orchestration of the extended value network.”

The new model “provides a more granular description and advice for each stage,“ he said.

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Omni-channel’s Day is Soon Arriving in B2B Integration

Omni-channel marketing, ubiquitous now in business, has been an important component of marketplace visibility. Those challenges have mostly been shouldered by retailers in the past, but have now become a priority in B2B integration.

Beyond its role as a buzzword, omni-channel is the concept of operationalizing customer viewpoint across transaction processing. It allows for more effective market segmentation and customer profiling, and the fine-tuning of demand and response – all primarily marketing concerns.

But omni-channel’s core principles – continuity in cross-channel execution, and data consolidation across channels – are perhaps even more central to B2B integration than to marketing. Removing inefficiencies in data is central to B2B integration, and data consolidation aids significantly in that effort. And omni-channel implementation encourages the streamlining of process, which is just as important.

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Social Media Can Drive the B2B-CRM Connection

The role of social media in B2B relationships has been vague at best as it has taken root, surfacing primarily as an external influence to supply chain operations. Primarily, social media can affect consumer demand, which in turn impacts the entire supply chain.

But a more tangible effect and connection exist between social media and CRM. Social media has taken its place as a CRM driver in the past few years, and when exploited can lead to higher customer satisfaction – which leads to more frequent purchasing, also a supply-chain-global effect. Predictive analytics, fast becoming ubiquitous in supply chain planning, rely deeply upon CRM, strengthening the connection between social media and B2B.

How can supply chain managers take the initiative, and employ social media more directly? By leveraging social media’s impact on consumer demand through social media monitoring tools, and using the data for assortment planning.

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