Allensmore managing director Mark Taylor said they often had issues with customers who first let them know about problems when they refused the stock. Other customers never answered or responded to phone calls.
Suppliers wanted to deal with honest parties who order based on their commitment to take the stock, he said. Better communication could allow growers to bring on or slow down a crop's growth rate so they were ready when a garden centre needed them.
Better technical integration could also reduce time spent on inputting manual orders and improve accuracy. "True partnerships are becoming a necessity. We want more than customers. We want retail partners," said Taylor.
Scotts sales director Keith Boad said suppliers and retailers had to make sure everything they did benefited the consumer and boosted sales. There was a static market for many ranges and in many cases price deflation, so it made sense to broaden relationships to ensure profits lift, to drive out cost or add value, he said.
Boad suggested retailers and suppliers shared business plans and strategies, and agreed an annual marketing plan.
- Long-term relationships
- Technology integration
- Knowledge transfer