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How to partner with your retailer customer

3M has been an innovator in partnerships with their customers.
3M has been an innovator in partnerships with their customers.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Manufacturers experience great benefits when they decide to partner with the retailer customer. Not only do sales typically increase, retailers are less likely to discontinue a manufacturer or distributor that has partnered with them to build business. This is a great way to increase sales and profits for both partners if you follow the appropriate steps.


There is definitely a need to determine the synergies that will be created with your customer. The retailer as a mechanism to deliver a specific demographic within the supply chain. It is therefore critical that you look at your products and services and see how they align with the demographics of the retailer’s customer. The matter how great your product if you skip this step you will not achieve success.

Vision and objectives

Investigate the retailer’s current vision and both the short and long term objectives they have. What do you have that would help them achieve these objectives? They are likely have an omni-channel vision that you will be able to support. Aligning your partnership with their vision and objectives streamlines the approval process. Regardless of how good your idea may be if it is outside the scope of their business model they are likely to reject or delay your proposal.

Support resources

Identify what resources or programs you have resources to support and know what support you will need from the customer. This is not a point of conversation initially. Rather this is a topic to be worked through once a partnership program has been accepted because it is only at this point that the full scope of the partnership will be known.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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