How ECRM stays relevant at 25
For more than 25 years, ECRM has been able to bring suppliers and retailers together in highly productive, category-relevant venues to help with their business needs and growth plans. For those that have attended an ECRM event in the past, the infamous luggage tag and “three minutes” door knock are all too familiar branding moments.
Just as retailers and suppliers alike have evolved over the years, so has ECRM. It has worked to emphasize business services focused on category management support to accompany growing sales, increasing productivity and saving time and money for busy and often overworked merchant teams.
One significant step taken by ECRM recently was acquiring product discovery platform RangeMe. Currently, more than 30 large national retailers are using RangeMe to help their merchant teams in the product discovery process, offering them access to retail-ready suppliers. New suppliers looking to gain retail distribution can use the platform to submit their products directly to any of these retailers, whose merchants can review the standardized, vetted information.
With RangeMe, ECRM is becoming a key marketplace for new brands to onboard quickly with major retailers, enhancing speed to market, product discovery and, most importantly, business alignment to jumpstart sales growth for all parties.
Beyond RangeMe, ECRM is dedicated to working with merchants to develop and customize a purposeful plan to help clients accomplish white space co-creation, source new vendors and find the latest product innovations based on category growth needs.
When ECRM provides services to help merchant teams — many of which are stretched thin — save time and money, we think of ourselves as an extension of your team. Recently, a major retailer looking to discover new innovation called on ECRM to conduct a significant sourcing review, which led to the delivery of nearly 400 new potential suppliers with whom the retailer could create new assortments and source new capabilities to stay relevant.
For many years, ECRM’s services have also helped support retailers with their category planning and review processes. We have helped provide the resources, tools and infrastructure to support promotional planning, line reviews and seasonal planning programs across all product categories. These customized programs have brought the retail community significant cost savings, productivity enhancements and streamlined merchandising operations. In the past year, we have conducted more than 80 of these programs, significantly reducing the time it would take to implement these efforts if they were undertaken by the retailer’s team alone.
Also in the past year, ECRM has provided the retail industry with more than 280,000 meetings between retailers and suppliers. Our footprint, which covers national and regional retailers in all major CPG categories — including health and beauty care, consumables and general merchandise — is vast, particularly with regard to the information exchange, industry conversations and interactions that we facilitate across the mass market. For challenger brands — the bright spot in industry growth over the past several years — ECRM has always been the ideal place to gain a foothold in the retail space.
Wayne Bennett is senior vice president of retail for ECRM.