3 Important Keys to Automation in the Growth Stage of the Product Life Cycle

by | Jun 16, 2021 | Automation, Business Growth, Suppliers

The growth stage of the product life cycle is where the rubber meets the road for product suppliers. Once you’ve introduced your product, you need to establish your market presence, prove your sales trajectory and improve your margins. As you enter this phase, you’ll likely have more products and sell them across more channels. 

Manual processes with your retail partners can slow you down and eat into your profits.That’s why automation is critical in this stage of your growth.

Here are 3 key areas to automate:

Automate product data sharing to enable scale

Whether your product is sold online or on a store shelf, the right content helps your product stand out in the growth stage of the product life cycle

Consumers rely on detailed product data to make a buying decision. They expect robust information about color, size, dimensions, ratings and reviews. 

Likewise, your retail customers need product data to plan, allocate and sell your products. They expect you to provide part numbers, pricing, shipping information and more. Plus, once you have compiled your product information, you have to submit it in different ways for each retailer.

If you’re like most suppliers, you manage your product data in spreadsheets. Then you reformat the data based on what each retailer requires. This process is time-consuming and can lead to errors and frustration.

Fortunately, you can automate this process using product data automation. By doing so, you’ll eliminate the need for spreadsheets, portals and back-and-forth emails with your retail buyers. Provide your product data once to a service like SPS Assortment. Your data will be automatically formatted and delivered to all of your retailers.

Keep your trading partners updated with inventory data

As you grow, you’ll need to provide more frequent inventory updates to your retail customers. You’ll also need greater visibility into your inventory levels at third-party warehouses.

This is especially true if you are fulfilling orders directly to consumers (also known as drop shipping). Retailers often require daily, or even hourly, inventory updates from suppliers.

By using an automated inventory data sharing service, you can easily send and receive inventory updates from your trading partners. An automated service saves you the hassle of managing phone calls, emails and portal updates.

Automate order management in the growth stage of the product life cycle

As your business expands, you may receive orders from many sales channels. These can range from big-box retailers to e-commerce platforms to marketplaces. Managing orders across platforms using different systems is time-consuming.

In addition to receiving orders electronically, your retail buyers may require you to acknowledge orders electronically, typically within 12 to 24 hours. Other retailers may require an acknowledgement within 30 minutes! Orders can arrive at any time, sometimes requiring a response in the middle of the night.

Managing orders via spreadsheets, emails and phone calls is not scalable for a growing business. When you are at the growth stage of the product life cycle, you need an automated system to manage orders across all sales channels.

Services like SPS Commerce Fulfillment make it easier to manage the entire order cycle. You can even use Fulfillment to shop for affordable shipping rates, book a shipment and produce shipping labels.

If you’re at the growth stage of the product life cycle, it’s time to automate. Contact us (today) to learn how SPS can help you achieve your growth goals.

Scott Williams

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