Following the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unstable economic recovery, dysfunctional supply chains continue to cause inventory problems for brands. The resultant shortage or untimely arrival of stock leads to unsatisfactory customer experiences, with customers unable to find the products they want while sellers struggle to provide them with enough information to ensure lost sales don’t turn into lost customers.
Fortunately, Digital Retail Sales Enablement Platforms provide a way for brands to mitigate the effects of dysfunctional supply chains and ensure that customers continue to receive optimal experiences. Keep reading to find out how.
Tangled Supply Chains
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a multitude of flaws in the global supply chain. A shift to online shopping and government stimulus increased demand for products such as electronic devices and appliances at the very moment that warehouses, transporters, and retailers all saw a dramatic plunge in staff numbers. The effects rippled across economies, with shortages of some commodities providing a knock-on effect and diminishing the availability of others.
Although there have been efforts to reduce bottlenecks in the global supply chain, events such as the war in Ukraine and widespread inflation have meant that supply chain dysfunction continues to cause issues for brands.
Unfortunately, brands attempting to respond proactively to these complexities often intensify them. By producing more, often in response to retailer demand and in advance of important holidays, they cause further disruptions higher up the supply chain, resulting in lengthy wait times and more inventory than carriers can transport.
How This Can Hurt Brands
The result is that brands struggle to meet seasonal demand for their product, and those that can, often struggle to get their product into stores quickly enough. Not having your product in stores self-evidently costs you the ability to sell it, resulting in lost sales and revenue. It also means that your sales teams are unable to deliver on the promises made by your marketing, leaving them to explain to frustrated customers why your product is nowhere to be found, often at the busiest times of the year.
The final victim of supply chain disruption, your customer, is usually largely unaware of the market forces that have led to this moment and has no one else to blame except your brand. At these moments, when the customer experience has already been shaken, it’s vital that your sellers are able to manage the situation. Otherwise, the customer’s frustration can lead to irreversible damage to their relationship with your brand.
A customer whose frustration has pushed them past the point of no return doesn’t just represent a lost sale; they also represent years of lost revenue.
How can digital sales enablement platforms help?
Digital retail sales enablement platforms provide a way to address the disconnected and fragmented communication between brands, retail HQ, and sales associates. In the context of supply chains, they enable brands to provide retail headquarters with accurate, up-to-date information about shortages and wait times, and this information can be rapidly passed on to the sellers who need it.
As we’ve discussed previously, sellers armed with this information are in a much stronger position when confronted with a customer who wants to buy your product and know why it isn’t in stock. A customer who hears, “We don’t have your product right now, but we’ll be receiving another shipment next week” has received a much better experience than one who is told, “We’re not sure when we’ll have it in stock.” The first customer is much more likely to return the following week and buy your product, so something that could easily have been a lost sale simply turns into a delayed one.
Digital sales enablement platforms also allow brands to provide their sellers with the updated materials and information they need to sell stock that has turned up later than planned and therefore has to be pitched differently to customers. This allows brands to recover the losses that might otherwise result from missing important seasonal occasions.
This increased access to information about your product empowers your sellers to speak passionately and knowledgeably about your product, making sure that customers know that your product is the best solution to their problems and that nothing else will do. Sellers with ready access to your brand materials via sales enablement platforms can become true brand advocates who are able to persuade your customer that your product is worth waiting for.
The benefits of enhanced communication between brands and sales teams are also felt in the reverse direction. Sales enablement platforms enable sellers to feed real-time information back to brands. Not only does this give companies with limited stock or staff the power to understand where seasonal demand for their product is highest, but also where it would be most profitable for them to ship their product. For brands trying to figure out which retail stores to prioritize, sales enablement platforms can provide critical information on which sales teams have engaged most with their training material and are more likely to get your product flying off the shelves.
Although brands are often powerless to control the complexities of the supply chains on which they depend, digital retail sales enablement platforms like Myagi enable them to manage the effects of these complexities, ensuring that the damage they cause can be limited, especially during times of high seasonal demand.
As a premium retail sales enablement platform, Myagi enables a constant flow of information back and forth between brands, retailers, and sellers, making it easier for your sellers to persuade your customers that your product is the best and worth waiting for, even in the face of uncertain supply. As a result, potential lost sales turn into loyal customers, providing a healthy and dependable ROI, year on year.
Get in touch to find out more about how Myagi can help you manage your supply chain issues.