A collective of specialty retailers with a focus on gear for nature-loving explorers is joining forces with business-to-business e-commerce platform NuOrder. The Grassroots Outdoor Alliance announced the partnership, which will allow its member retailers and their vendors to utilize the platform for free, on Monday.
NuOrder allows retail buyers to holistically visualize their product assortment, and enables users to search for available items based on a multitude of data points. Buyers can virtually collaborate with wholesale brands supplying their merchandise, digitizing line sheets and catalogs for a more streamlined process.
“The big takeaway is that we’re bringing the same sophistication and efficiency to retailers that brands have enjoyed for years,” Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, told Sourcing Journal. He believes member retailers will see time savings and a simplified buying process, and will have an easier time tracking their open-to-buy purchasing budgets.
“On both sides of the sales table, that increase in efficiency is going to result in better coordination and improved sales,” he said. “Additionally, the value that this platform will provide is magnified when you consider the challenges we face buying remotely during this pandemic.”
NuOrder’s platform will take the place of Grassroots’ current digitization initiatives, which were implemented after the cancellation of this spring’s trade shows. Hill said that the move to virtually enabled processes was in the works even before this year’s unprecedented challenges. In 2019, the organization began taking steps to eliminate the use of paper workbooks during sales.
“Yes, this creates some huge benefits when retailers are forced to buy remotely, but this needed to happen,” Hill said. “Covid was simply the motivation to fast track some existing priorities within our long-term strategy.”
Hill believes the partnership could lead directly to better sales performance in stores. “Our retailers are going to be able to better plan and execute their buys,” he said. Sales representatives, who have been struggling to work on multiple platforms, will also find relief in the streamlined new process.
“And, importantly, it will be better for brands, who will receive better orders in a more timely manner,” Hill said. Many have been operating on self-built systems that are cumbersome for retailers and their buyers to navigate.
“It’s going to deliver benefits throughout the specialty outdoor retail industry,” he said of the partnership.