Does The Size Of A Supplier Network Matter?

By Logicbroker | April 24, 2024

When you’re evaluating tech partners to start a new drop ship or marketplace program, ultimately, one of the first questions is about the scope and size of the supplier network associated with that provider. 

Whether it’s conversations we have at Logicbroker, or with one of our competitors, the real answer should be: “Your tech providers’ technology should mean it really doesn’t matter.” 

How Supplier Networks Have Evolved

Supplier network is the number of pre-connected vendors that have signed on to work with retail clients in a tech providers’ network. The reason this is a misguided term is that almost all suppliers sign on to work with one specific retailer

When a supplier signs on to a retail network, they have to meet a specific set of requirements to connect with their targeted retailer. While some suppliers may target multiple retailers, most either don’t want to go through a new testing phase with a new retailer, aren’t even allowed to seek additional partners on the network per their retailer agreement, or are not willing to adhere to a new retailer’s specific drop ship or marketplace agreement terms. 

Just seven to eight years ago (before API-driven programs existed) connecting with vendors was very difficult. The process to connect suppliers with retailers took months, or years in some extreme cases. Onboarding was a manual chore that could tie your organization up for the length of your contract and ultimately meant the first few years of your agreement were wasted on superfluous backend changes. 

Modern platforms, designed to be driven by automation and API processes, are no longer held back by EDI restrictions. Between Logicbroker’s on-demand onboarding process that can get suppliers up and running with a retailer in just 52 minutes, and our industry-leading tech stack integrations through API, EDI, XML, CSV, JSON, and more, our platform is designed to connect suppliers in a way that makes sense for them regardless of the size of the organization and the level of technical resources they have available. With a modern, more automated approach, you can onboard any new suppliers into your network in less time than a standard lunch break. 

On-Demand Onboarding

So with supplier onboarding restrictions out of the way, API-driven platforms have shifted to a modern approach. One that doesn’t focus on a supplier network but rather a network of curated, targeted suppliers that meet the ever-evolving needs of modern-day consumers. 

The process of utilizing the same suppliers as your competitors on a preset network only ensures that your eCommerce program is selling what your competitors have for years. This not only doesn’t drive differentiation in assortment but also drives your profits down as the only real selling point between you and your competitors becomes a fight for lowest price. To maximize your investment in eCommerce and personalization solutions, you want to have a preset of core products, but more importantly a tightly curated set of unique assortment that helps you stand out from the crowd.

This unparalleled speed-to-market approach is why retailers like BBQGuys are excelling. 

For BBQGuys, selling grills for the summer is just a small portion of what makes their organization grow and meet the needs of their customers. Their curated, “king of the outdoors” experience highlights how they can provide expertise on everything related to the outdoors. Anyone can buy a grill from a box store, but BBQGuys offers a unique assortment of hard-to-find grills at fantastic price points coupled with an assortment of Outdoor Kitchen and BBQ Accessories that can’t be found at your local Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart. 

With on-demand onboarding, BBQGuys has been able to onboard 600 suppliers into their network and has seen a 41% increase in efficiency across the board

For brands like Walgreens, on-demand onboarding has given them the opportunity to expand their assortment in more targeted ways

“We really aim to make sure every product on our physical shelf [and] digital shelves are fulfilling a need for our customers,” said Walgreens’ Senior Manager of eCommerce and Digital Merchandising, Abby Grad. “We know our customers rely on us to curate for them. I think that’s a big piece of where we lean into that consumer trust… We’re seeing a really important role there for our consumers as people are opting in more into the Walgreens brand.”

So, What Does Matter For A Supplier Network?

As you’re deciding on what provider to use for your eCommerce program, Logicbroker suggests you focus on whether your targeted provider can perfect these six keys:

  • delivering faster speed to market tools
  • eliminating manual errors
  • eliminating supplier contracts
  • improving visibility
  • giving greater control to retailers
  • having dedicated onboarding support

All six of these keys will help your organization deliver a curated assortment for your targeted consumers and provide your organization with the structural support it will need to get suppliers up and running. 

Make sure to ask: “How quickly can you get new suppliers connected to my network?” and “How many integration options do you have for suppliers/sellers?” These questions will help hone in on the six keys and allow you to find a truly frictionless eCommerce experience for both suppliers and retailers. 

Learn More Online

Logicbroker’s expansive network is custom-tailored to the retailers that are utilizing our tools to grow and expand their eCommerce programs. To discover more about how API-driven technology partners are approaching eCommerce best practices, visit our insights page. We have content focused on every aspect of drop ship, marketplace, and supply chain visibility tools, as well as webinars to help retailers and brands focus on assortment best practices. 

About Logicbroker

Logicbroker is a premier multi-vendor commerce platform that seamlessly connects trading partners regardless of integration types. Our modern solutions empower retailers and brands to take control of their customer experience by harnessing and analyzing vital first-party data, reducing inventory risk, and curating their expanded assortment. By improving the visibility into our client’s commerce programs, Logicbroker can better position retailers and brands for transformative growth.

As business needs and demand shift, Logicbroker provides the ability to quickly switch suppliers and product fulfillment between 3P to 1P and responsibly find new sources of inventory that uphold your brand integrity and meet your delivery promise. ​We work with mid-market and Enterprise manufacturers and retailers across a number of verticals including Health & Wellness, Home Improvement, Consumer Electronics, Toys & Babies, and Consumer Packaged Goods and service brands such as Samsung, Victoria’s Secret, The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, and BBQGuys

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