Leading jewellery brands are struggling to collect data from UK retail partners, despite experts revealing that an afternoon spent analysing facts, figures and numbers on a spreadsheet can really improve business.
Conversations about retailers sharing data with brands and suppliers have been at the centre of industry discussions over the last couple of years, and it seems the battle between wholesale partners still isn’t over.
Speaking at a roundtable debate hosted by Professional Jeweller in London, senior UK jewellery executives revealed they are still struggling to gather data from some retail partners.
“We pretty much insist on it now and get it from 60% or 70% of our doors, but a lot of retailers don’t want to give it for whatever reason,” shares UK & Ireland managing director at Thomas Sabo, Jon Crossick.
Pam Aujla, who joined Trollbeads as the brand’s UK & Ireland managing director 18 months ago, explains how she’s had to work on a clean-up operation to make sure retailers are only buying the stock they need. But, in order to help place the right stock in the right stores, the brand needs access to its partners data.
“When you work for big chains you tailor your allocation system based on where they are regionally, demographics, and all sorts of things,” Aujla explains. “It’s hard in a small company as you don’t have the infrastructure and the systems, but we’ve tried to be a bit more tailored in our allocations. It means they [the retailers] get a better result. The overarching thing for me is that we need to work much closer together because we’re all here to achieve the same result.”
Crossick agrees with Aujla saying the industry needs to work together to analyse how business is doing. Brands need to work with retail partners to understand their individual businesses, but a large part of this means retailers need to be open to sharing data.
Swarovski UK & Ireland managing director Hayley Quinn explains how the brand has had to use incentives to gather the necessary data needed to help boost the brand in stores.
“We’ve taken the route of saying this is everything I can give you and I can’t give you that because I don’t have access to your data,” Quinn shares. “Over a period of a year or two we’ve built up an enormous amount of trust. You get to a point, not everybody, where many of them then will allow you to be more prescriptive because they trust that you’ve done your analysis and you’re not going to stitch them up.”
Country manager at Forevermark, Lisa Levinson, agrees that the key is trust. “It takes time to build up and it’s absolutely crucial,” Levinson remarks.
Forevermark is working on the same positive reinforcement as Swarovski in order to build trust and show that the benefits of sharing data out weight any negatives retailers might feel will come from it.
“If we understand their business we can work with them closely,” Crossick explains. “That’s not telling them exactly what to hold but if we understand their business, we understand what they should be buying and we can tell them how they’re doing versus others in their area and give them a guide.”
“And we do ultimately want to assist each individual retailer to sell more and to grow their business. From a brand perspective, you have an overview of a lot of retailers and you get insights from it and you learn how to analyse data. There is a great benefit to work together in partnership around the data.,” Levinson concludes.