Our observations are that retailers continue to grow they're private label businesses. To be successful at selling to retailers you need a strong brand, competitive pricing, to be on-time with your shipments, to deliver what you promise (quality), and, most importantly, you need to be able to outperform that retailer's private label business - because any product can be replicated.
In a trading partner relationship, there's a strong need for collaboration - to have a trusted partnership and to ensure that both sides make a profit. You simply can't "wish away" deductions or try to settle them for 50 cents on the dollar and achieve collaboration.
Do retailers treat RVCF vendor members differently? I think not, but I can tell you this - retailers want their suppliers engaged, proactive and, if there's a issue, willing to make the necessary fixes. If there is no immediate fix, offer a timeline and stick with it, but don't bleed to death because of deductions and say there is no solution. Here's a link to a white paper we wrote in 2010, titled, "The State of U.S. Retailer-Supplier Collaboration." Its story is as true today as it was four years ago. A good read for any merchandise supplier.
A quick example of ROI (one of many):
When speaking with a longtime RVCF member at the conference, he exclaimed that after years of being a member, meeting all of his retail customers once or twice a year had gotten him out of many troubling situations. Having those close relationships has allowed him to reach out on the phone or via e-mail and resolve potential non-compliance charges before those charges find their way to the A/P department. He estimated he has prevented or resolved tens of thousands of dollars that would have otherwise been lost.
In closing, RVCF isn't pro-retailer or pro-manufacturer - we're pro-"good business process." An accurate forecasting and planning initiative, error free shipping, speed to market; when the flow of inventory is delayed, the cost of committed capital increases and both sides of the aisle lose.
2014 is knocking at the door. RVCF will be sending a survey to our supplier members asking them to identify key issues that are preventing them from fully executing successful shipments globally or domestically, successfully communicating with their trading partners, and receiving payment and reconciling payments... stay tuned.
Wishing you all a Safe and Festive Holiday!