How Data Can Damage Your Relationship With Retailers

data garbage in garbage out

If you are a brand that sells products into Travel Retailers, you will probably receive reports that tell you how much of your product has been sold each month.

This data is useful in many ways. It can help you:

  • Create better forecasts for demand planning
  • Better understand promotional performances
  • Calculate the shift in Average Retail Prices
  • Identify key markets for your brand
  • Find opportunities to help the retailer grow
  • If harmonised, it can create big leaps in market understanding

So if you have the data from the retailer, how can that possibly damage your relationship?

Well…. It is how you use that data. Let’s see a few examples…

  • If you go to a meeting and present numbers back to the retailer and those numbers are incorrect, it can REALLY annoy them.
  • If you try to twist the data to your own narrative and pressure the retailer it will close down your relationship very quickly.
  • You haven’t updated your numbers correctly due to the retailer restating the data (it happens more often than you might thing) it shows lack of care and attention.

Inaccuracies normally come from how the data is handled.

Key Account Managers should be selling and not handling or managing data. Some brands will get their interns to look after the data but then you are hit with inexperience AND inconsistency when those interns move on to other things. Problems are then built into the historical data.

Some brands outsource to third parties but then you can have issues with:

  • Overcharging
  • Inaccuracies
  • Lack of speed
  • Lack of understanding of our channel

Finally, some believe that data management can be automated. That leads to all sorts of problems due to file formats changing, content changing, restates, the meaning of the data itself changing…. I could go on.

In short, it is very easy to get things wrong when it comes to data and garbage in means garbage out. Very few seem to know how to do data well. So does accuracy matter?

The Impact Of Poor Data

If you are presenting poor data back to a retailer, the implications can be damaging. You can impact:

  • Their perception of you vs your competitors
  • Your credibility
  • Your Profitability
  • The retailer’s level of openness and willingness to work together
  • Your Access to more data (i.e. category performance, passenger numbers etc)

Accuracy might seem trivial to some, for many it is the very foundations of a trusting long-term relationship. If your relationship is based on poor foundations, it does not bode well for your overall success. So, you want more space? Get your data right. Want better margins? Get your data right? Want that prize activation slot? Get your data right.

Is it really as simple as getting your data right? No…. there is more to the business relationship than that but remember, data is often the first building block to anything you want to achieve so it makes sense to get it right.

Why The Lack Of Focus?

It begs the question, if everyone agrees data is important, why is it that some brands do not give it the necessary care and attention?

Some believe that data is simple. Others may not know what goes into getting to clean, useable data. Others might think that it is easier to just be directional with the numbers (as long as it is partially right). Finally, some may feel that spending money to put data into a great place is just ‘burning cash’. However, when you consider all the ways poor quality data can negatively impact your business, it might be sensible to treat your data as an asset rather than a cost.

So, how can you ensure that data does not impact your relationship?

6 top tips for better data are as follows. Make sure that you:

  • Have a consistent methodology
  • Check the data to ensure accuracy
  • Consider using a data specialist (psst. We are specialists in Travel Retail Data)
  • Harmonise your data (that is next week’s email)
  • Leverage your data to generate value
  • Go back to square one – the original files
    • With every client we have onboarded, we have had to go right back to source data and start from scratch to remove the historical errors.

What happens if you follow the above tips? Fast, accessible data that is pinpoint accurate.

Next week I will share the benefit of data harmonisation.

Have a great week.


Founder & Managing Director
One Red Kite Limited

Author of “Travel Retail : The Insider’s Guide”
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