But finding the right partner and collaborating effectively can take a lot of time and effort. You need to determine how the partnership will work, create effective contracts, choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress, and more.
And if you don’t choose the right partner, it could cost you — potentially even hurting your reputation down the line.
Here are some tips you can follow to make sure you and your partner develop a collaborative relationship that provides value to all involved.
1. Pick the Right Partner
Many brand and retailer partnerships — like Target and Levi’s or Amazon and Best Buy, for example — have achieved massive success by collaborating effectively.
Choosing the right brand or retailer with which to partner is key to creating a winning partnership. It’s easier for both parties to get the most out of the collaboration — and achieve the desired results — when the two companies have complementary offerings, share core values, or target similar customers.
Take Everist and Credo’s partnership as an example. Everist is a beauty brand built for “eco-optimists” — known for selling waterless, super-concentrated shampoo and conditioner pastes.
Meanwhile, Credo has been at the center of the clean beauty movement since 2015, and currently carries more than 130 brands and over 2,000 best-in-clean products. This common foundation makes Everist and Credo a perfect brand-retailer partnership.
In an interview with Beauty Independent, Everist co-founder and CEO Jessica Stevenson shares that when building their retail partnership strategy, Everist focuses on finding retailers that have strong brand stories and prioritize product education. “We launched our partnership with Credo soon after our DTC debut last year [February 2021] as we felt our ethos and customer were perfectly aligned,” Stevenson says.
Research and vet your partner carefully before getting into a huge commitment.
2. Be Clear About Goals
Developing a successful partnership requires clear, regular communication around desired goals. Aligning on expectations ensures everyone involved is on the same page.
For example, before partnering with retailers like Detox Market, the luxurious, plant-based intimate care brand Rosebud Woman determines specific goals they want to achieve from the partnership, founder and CEO Christine Mason tells Beauty Independent.
Apart from revenue growth, the feminine brand aims to partner with retailers to strengthen trustworthy relationships with female customers and develop educational programs to grow their category. They also seek more visibility into robust analytics that can support their business decisions, says Mason.
“We planned for retail from the outset, but had expectations that our category would be limited to forward-thinking independents, integrative health advocates, and niche, luxe purveyors … We are especially grateful for Detox Market … for their deep commitment to full-body wellness,” says Mason.
Ensure both parties understand and support one another’s goals from the outset by working together to:
- Create a thorough business plan;
- Align on incentives; and
- Implement an activation plan designed to deliver maximum value across the board.
Clearly defined, agreed-upon metrics and financial incentives are also a must.
3. Share Data With Each Other
Data sharing is a core part of a successful partnership. Both parties want to better understand who they’re targeting — and how they can optimize their relationships with this audience.
Valuable customer data can include:
- Age group;
- Interests; and
- Shopping behaviors.
This type of information is helpful in developing an effective co-marketing strategy.
As highlighted in a Forrester report, “Facilitating access to the same data sources, whether point of sale, supply chain, or loyalty, will help brands and retailers to conduct joint business planning using common language and shared KPIs to reach better decisions.”
To ensure a streamlined data-sharing process, consider adopting a technology platform that can serve as a single source of truth — making it easier to publish real-time updates and quickly distribute data to multiple channels. This type of tool can help ensure that you and your partner are working in sync and collaborating effectively.
4. Focus on the Customer Experience
Modern consumers expect brands and retailers to provide seamless, consistent, and high-quality shopping experiences across all touch points.
According to Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report, 44% of German shoppers, 45% of French shoppers, 46% of U.S. shoppers, and 46% of British shoppers will choose not to purchase a product online if not enough information is provided.
If you want to win over new customers, think about how you can work with your partner to:
- Create high-quality product content;
- Offer consistent information across channels;
- Provide excellent customer service; and
- Streamline the buying process.
By putting your customers at the center and tailoring your collaboration activities to their needs, you can strengthen your relationship with your partner and customer base.
5. Review Performance Regularly
You can’t afford to wait until the end of a campaign to evaluate its performance.
Track results and schedule regular meetings with your partner throughout the program. Doing so will allow both parties to stay focused on achieving goals — and help to avoid any potential problems down the road.
Consider centralizing all your partners and channels into a single platform so that you have one unified view of data to track and measure success. This allows you to manage your partnerships more strategically and efficiently.
Depending on the specific goals you’ve set, consider tracking the following metrics:
- Return on investment (ROI);
- Acquisition cost;
- Marketing expenses;
- Conversion rate;
- Sales per square foot; and
- Any previous KPIs.
During a performance review meeting, ensure you and your partner are transparent about these metrics and any potential roadblocks. If you run into any challenges, work together to develop an action plan to address them.
Get a Win-Win Outcome By Collaborating Effectively
A successful brand and retailer collaboration can lead to a variety of benefits for both parties — from additional exposure and revenue to an increase in customer loyalty.
Implement the above tips to find the right partner for your business and establish a strategy for meaningful and effective collaboration.
Download “The Change Management Guide for Digital Transformation in Commerce” for more insights on how to deliver memorable shopping experiences.