In today’s omnichannel retail environment, consumers expect that any item they intend to purchase is in stock, reasonably priced and immediately in their hands. With such high expectations to manage online, via mobile devices and in physical stores, retailers must find a way to offer the endless aisles of merchandise and rapid fulfillment capabilities that customers require. Such a state has left retailers scrambling to locate, vet and onboard suppliers in unprecedented numbers.
This situation bodes well for small and fledgling suppliers, because it places less emphasis on size and more emphasis quality of offering and fulfillment capabilities. But with it comes another challenge — one that again hits the emerging supplier especially hard: how can retailers be made aware of all of the qualified suppliers out there?
Sourcing suppliers and merchandise has long been a dreaded task for retailers. The process of getting names, making countless correspondences and trading information consumes valuable resources. It can also take weeks or even months to complete, which is not nearly fast enough for retailers that need to bring in new vendors right away. The suppliers that make it easy for retailers to find accurate and timely information about them will be ones that that get the business. But how can this be accomplished?
Networks to the rescue
So we have niche suppliers that need visibility among retailers. We have retailers that want to onboard new suppliers. What is the best way to bring these two parties together? Enter the Retail Business Network (RBN), which provides a cloud-network-based approach to facilitating fast, simple retailer/supplier connections. Once a supplier is in an RBN, retailers can quickly and easily find vital information for determining whether that supplier is a good fit for their needs, regardless of size or brand recognition in the marketplace.
For instance, suppliers are increasingly being asked to offer a range of fulfillment capabilities, including the ability to ship direct to consumers, transact through EDI, and provide comprehensive item information. This and much more information is readily accessible through an RBN. For retailers, RBNs offer a quick solution for supplier/item sourcing and managing larger volumes of information that online shoppers need for making informed purchasing decisions. For emerginh suppliers, RBNs have leveled the playing field, once and for all.
Some real-world success stories
Royce Leather is a perfect example of how small and mid-sized suppliers are benefiting from RBNs. Specializing in luxury leather accessories for men and women, Royce Leather features an assortment totaling more than 1,000 SKUs. Since joining an RBN and using its online sourcing community, the company has been contacted by multiple retailers, including Burlington Coat Factory, which now sells dozens of Royce Leather items both in store and online. Royce has also aligned with Bluestem Brands via the RBN, enabling online sales of its products through Fingerhut.com and Gettington.com.
The Bumble Collection, a maker of fashionable baby care items and children’s accessories, has found that the screening capabilities of its RBN bypass the need to spend time and resources on vetting and educating potential partners.
“With the detailed product information on this unique platform—more than we were expecting—retailers receive a full, personalized overview of our company and our entire product catalog,” said Jennie Lynn Johanson, Bumble Collection founder and designer. “Of all the ways we network with other retailers, the RBN is by far the most unique and efficient way for us to meet with new partners.”
As Vice President of Marketing, Mr. Zaballos oversees all aspects of the company’s marketing and product management, and is responsible for creating business value from the company’s platform, products, and presence in the market.
Prior to joining SPS he held executive leadership positions in marketing, business development and product management at StudyBlue, a cloud service reaching more than a million high school and college students, and RealNetworks, a pioneer in creating the category of internet digital media. Mr. Zaballos also served as vice president at Frazier Technology Ventures where he sourced, evaluated, and managed early stage investments in the consumer and enterprise web services sectors.
He currently serves as an advisory board member for two consumer web service firms, Glad2.com and SquareHub.com, focusing on branding, positioning and message development.
Mr. Zaballos has a Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree (SM) in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.