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Pet Stores Have Questions About Lightspeed Supplier Network. We Have Answers!

We talked with VP of Partnerships at Lightspeed Peter Dougherty to get answers to reader questions about the new product.

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On Tuesday, Lightspeed announced the launch of its Lightspeed Supplier Network for North American retailers. In a press release, the company listed the network’s key advantages:

  • A harmonized marketplace. Provides the same direct supplier access and inventory visibility as the big box stores, easily managed through a single platform.
  • Automates manual ordering and consolidates supplier portals in the POS. Improves transparency of when a shipment will arrive and what goods will be included, shortening the receiving cycle and getting items into consumers’ hands more quickly.
  • Makes new suppliers and products more discoverable. Product details, including photos, are imported into the POS with a click of a button, eliminating a barrier to selling online.
  • Increases control of supplier branding. Easy import workflow for retailers ensures merchants are using brand-approved names, product descriptions and high-quality imagery.
  • Provides suppliers aggregated and anonymized sell-through data in real time. Brands are granted unprecedented visibility of goods sold by independent merchants.

When we shared the press release in the PETS+ Facebook Community, our readers had questions. So we set up a call with VP of Partnerships at Lightspeed Peter Dougherty to get the answers and threw in a few questions of our own.

Q: What Lightspeed products will a retailer need to use the network?
A: Just the Lightspeed Retail POS.

Q: How is the network different from the current catalogs feature of the Lightspeed POS?
A: The catalogs feature uses crowdsourced information from brands, distributors and retailers themselves, and the information can be limited and out of date. It also does not include pricing specific to a retailer.

Dougherty said, “We knew how popular that was, despite not having photos. That was part of the reason why we thought about going much deeper here and building this new supplier network.

“It’s directly connected to the brand. Those connections mean that rather than us relying on the next time someone sends us a PDF or sell sheet of a new product or the new catalog for next year, it’s all updated in real time, including photography, including descriptions, and if you have an account with that distributor, it will also send through your price. The level of detail you’re getting and the quality of the information is that much more improved.”

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He added that, “You have visibility into the stock levels. You actually see what the distributor or brand has in stock in their warehouses.”

Q: Which brands and distributors are part of the network?
A: Lightspeed did a beta program within the bicycle vertical, opening the network to outdoor sporting goods, pets and jewelry this week.

Dougherty said, “That’s what my team is focused on day to day, doing outreach and contacting the folks at the brands, and getting them to sign on, but the feedback from the brand side has been excellent.

“It helps them better plan their supply chain to make sure that they have inventory available in the right warehouses.”

He shared that smaller companies are joining the network more quickly, and two in particular are already up and running: The Dog Pillow Company and The Natural Dog Company.

And Dougherty asked that retailers help make the network more robust by inviting their favorite brands and distributors to join.

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Q: Will the catalogs feature go away?
A: Not right away. There will be overlap as those brands and distributors with catalogs join the network.

Q: Will brands and distributors have access to a retailer’s customer information through the network.
A: Doughtery said no, adding that, “Brands will only have access to aggregated sales data. And brands won’t see other brands info, only how their products are performing.”

Q: The pandemic postponed 2020 SuperZoo and moved 2021 Global Pet Expo online. Many readers are missing the ability to easily comparison shop. Will the network help in that area?
A: As seen in this video, retailers will be able to search by keywords and look at all available options.

Thank you to the members of the PETS+ Facebook community for helping to create this Q&A. Not yet a member, join us. NOTE: We limit this group to independent pet retailers and service providers.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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