How to Use Retail Link to Drive Your Business with Walmart: an Account from a Former SVP
by Lesya McQueen
As a former Senior Vice President of Apparel, Footwear and Infant Consumables at Walmart Canada, I witnessed firsthand the power of vendor collaboration. Retail Link, the online source of sales and inventory data for suppliers of Walmart, is a treasure trove of data that enables vendors to analyze their business and provide value-add recommendations to their buyers.
As we all know, merchants are continually being asked to do more, and are stretched thin. The key to vendor collaboration and success is to take much of the burden off the retailer and perform your own analysis and make value-add recommendations that are fact-based, drive gross margin return on investment (GMROI) and work within open-to-buy (OTB) constraints.
It takes time to build a trusting relationship, but finding the top 3 issues each week and each month that will impact business results is a great way to start. While retail is detail, the reality is that everyone must focus on what will give us the biggest impact. Retail Link gives suppliers the information needed to do so.
Whether it be quarterly reviews, vendor scorecard discussions or line reviews, utilizing Retail Link data and being forthcoming with the areas of under performance—not just over performance—is true collaboration. I have witnessed many vendors be under prepared for discussions and turn reviews into sales pitches—which is something that does not please a retailer. Knowing your data and areas of opportunities, presenting them in a simple, fact-based manner, and using straightforward visuals is the best way to discuss your issues with your merchant. Don’t get bogged down in the details, but have the data as back up.
But while Retail Link gives wholesalers access to their point-of-sale data, many vendors still spend a great deal of time—and hence dollars—pulling and manipulating data from the resource in Excel, building reports and leaving little time for analysis and effective recommendations. This is why I am recommending and endorsing krunchbox for suppliers who work with Walmart. Krunchbox is a cloud-based inventory optimization and sales analytics software, designed by wholesalers, for wholesalers. It is incredibly powerful in helping you drive incremental sales by clustering the right products and the right stores, and optimizing inventory throughout both your supply chain and Walmart’s supply chain. This is key to success at Walmart. As an exception-based tool, krunchbox filters the exceptions in the data to highlight the highest impact opportunities each week, so you don’t have to trawl through all the data. Another key feature of krunchbox is the ease with which you can share your analysis with anyone, internally or externally—all through a simple hyperlink. This is collaboration in action. Krunchbox has amazing dashboards for those needing high level views, delivered to your inbox as soon as the weekly data is available to give you a head start on the week.
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I witnessed krunchbox being utilized in a collaborative manner with many of my vendors when I was Chief Merchandising Officer at Big W in Australia (for those of you not familiar with Big W, think Walmart without the food). Those vendors were ahead of the game, collaboration was more timely, and as a merchant, I definitely saw superior results from them. You can imagine what a win that was for both sides.
I highly recommend that you sign up for a krunchbox demo today.
About Lesya McQueen
With over a 30 year career in retail, Lesya has worked for a number of global companies including Reitmans Canada, Walmart, Adidas and most recently Big W in various executive roles across operations, e-commerce, merchandising and buying and as President/Managing Director. Having seen the results of Krunchbox live through her own vendor partners, she is passionate about helping vendors and retailers alike drive GMROI and reduce working capital. Now running her own Canadian based consulting company, Lesya is thrilled to be partnering with Krunchbox.