SOLON, Ohio – Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM), the global leader in driving long-term, critical business relationships, announced Wednesday that it has developed a dynamic technology platform, utilizing the latest in virtual communications technologies, for facilitating face-to-face virtual meetings between buyers and suppliers.
What this means for the industry is that all future ECRM Sessions will continue as planned; some held virtually, and others – when possible – in-person. “Adversity drives innovation,” said Greg Farrar, CEO of ECRM. “The challenges of the pandemic showed everybody the power of virtual meetings and the opportunity to leverage digital in a more effective way. We believe our platform delivers an experience that is as close to in-person as possible, providing the high-tech yet personalized service that our clients have come to expect.”
In response to the industry’s need to continue product sourcing and category planning quickly, efficiently and – most importantly for today’s challenging environment – remotely, the platform has been specifically designed to deliver the same world class experience as an in-person Session. As with in-person Sessions, each Virtual Session will feature a wealth of resources to help buyers and suppliers make the most of their experience, including RangeMe onboarding, best practices information, relevant market research and educational programs.
In early March, ECRM launched its initial virtual offering called Efficient Supplier Introductions (“ESIs”), comprised of a series of virtual supplier presentations in a “one-to-many” format which supported the buyers’ need to continue product discovery. “With more than 1,000 buyers participating in our ESIs over the last few weeks, it is clear that the offering has filled a need in the market as retailers and suppliers are looking for introductions and sourcing solutions, perhaps now more than ever,” said Kurt Repola, SVP of ECRM. “We were also able to quickly gather a tremendous amount of feedback, and we learned that buyers still placed immense value on the one-on-one meetings with suppliers that are a staple of our Category Programs and, in these times, they were missing that next-stage, critical component of their review process. Over the last few weeks, we have been diligently working to expand our platform and develop a virtual capability that matches our in-person experience.”
“I was really wowed by my initial virtual experience with ECRM – just how smoothly it went,” said Kristen Quinn, channel account manager, UNFI. “I’m very much looking forward to the new platform with its enhanced prep and follow-up capabilities as well as the ability to meet one-on-one with suppliers in live, interactive remote meetings. These virtual interactions will help me continue to conduct my daily business needs while still discovering and connecting with suppliers in an efficient and effective way.”
As with in-person ECRM Sessions, sellers will have several levels of participation, each consisting of one-on-one virtual engagement with buyers. “The one-on-one digital interactions will let us gauge each individual buyer’s interest and talk to them on a more personal level,” said Pamela Heyward, founder of SOS Life Sciences.
“These Virtual Sessions and RangeMe enable ECRM to continue its role as an extension of buyers’ and suppliers’ businesses,” added Farrar. “Moving forward, they will become an integral part of our offerings. By extending our technology platform to include virtual meetings we’re now able to serve our customers whenever, wherever and however will best fulfill their needs.”
Throughout the year ECRM conducts a comprehensive series of Category Programs, featuring in-person and virtual Sessions, to facilitate interaction and commerce between buyers and suppliers of consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, general merchandise and foodservice products. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Rachel Mayfield at 440-528-3603 or email at rmayfield@ECRM.MarketGate.com.