Communication is key for suppliers

Small Business ConnectSuccessful Woolworths suppliers share some tips on getting your foot in the door with this major retailer:

Founder of Chic Shoes Rachmat Thomas says listening carefully to the retailer’s requirements is very important.

“Ultimately it’s linked to the needs of their customers,” she says.

Another tip is to try understand the critical issues that affects the retailer’s ability to deliver to their customers as customer demand drives almost all decisions.

“Ensure that the channels of communication remain open. Be proactive and maintain a positive relationship with your contacts within the company.”

She adds, should any problems or challenges arise, communicating the issue to them immediately was key.

“Always keep thinking of and offering new options and innovations to remain ahead of the curve. Even if they don’t accept all your ideas, some will stick.”

Thomas also suggests establishing a good relationship with the retailer’s buyers.

“Having insight into their planning and thinking in turn allows you to plan ahead more strategically.”

“Hone your business skills and educate yourself. This allows you to balance your passion and your analytical skills.

She added that patience was another characteristic a business owner needed to work with a major retailer. “We knocked on Woolworths’ door many times, before they opened.”

Managing director of De Fynne Nursery Jacky Goliath says quality products are definitely a must before approaching a retailer such as Woolworths.

“They are all for quality, not just quantity,” Goliath says.

“You also have to be dedicated. The road is not always easy. We’ve had crop failures before, but it is important to be honest and communicate to them the problem as soon as it arises.”

She offers prospective suppliers one last piece of advice saying one should never be“scared of grabbing an opportunity. Your competitors aren’t sitting around stagnating.”

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