Ask any merchant, importer or supplier who their biggest customer is and it’s a fair bet they’ll know straight away. Even the top 3 might roll quickly off the tongue. Beyond that though, it’s often not quite as clear.
In fact, we’d be prepared to bet that when presented with a list of their top 10 customers, most merchants would find at least one or two surprises in the mix.
How quickly could you find out?
The next question then is, how quickly can you find out? Does your current trading system allow you to pull up the statistics you need quickly and easily, or do you need a week of analytics training and a PhD to work it out?
However you want to define it – turnover, profit, frequency, size of order etc – the information you need should be readily available so you know what you need to know, fast. And that applies to products too, so you can robustly and intelligently create your replenishment, pricing and merchandising strategies accordingly.
Why does it matter?
Firstly, understanding the value of your customers helps you to place focus where it’s most needed. It helps you to make the best decisions regarding deals, payment terms and flexibility, for a start. It might help you to realise which customers are profitable, versus those who actually cost you money, or don’t bring in enough business to warrant the amount of service or credit they require. Rather than ignoring or even letting go of a particular customer, it might help you make a few adjustments to help them do better, or ensure you give them enough attention and support.
It’s all about having clear and simple visibility of what’s happening in your business. Often merchants are surprised to find out who their fourth or fifth biggest customer is – they don’t necessarily realise the extent of the business being done week in, week out, and perhaps that customer isn’t getting the recognition they deserve.
Knowing your customers is key to giving them better service. Who knows – with a little extra nurturing, maybe that midtable obscurity could become top of the league.
But whether we’re talking about which customers are your perennial supporters or which products are performing best, it’s all about knowing for sure what’s happening in the business, quickly and easily.
Better information breeds better, data-driven decision-making, which in turn drives better business.
And that’s what we’re here to help you achieve.
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