As a more senior member of a large organization, you may have different types of data from manufacturers, intermediaries, and retail stores. How should you interpret the data from these different sources and under what circumstances would you employ the data across these different stages of your distribution channels?
Let’s discuss.

Manufacturer sales data

Data from your manufacturers — also known as “shipment” or “billed” sales — is very important because it represents the data that your manufacturer can take as revenue. This data will be the most accurate and complete data that your business can analyze, as it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. 
No matter what product you sell — be it electronics, baby products, or something else entirely — gathering the information that your manufacturer provides you will be helpful in gaining high-level overviews and insights. However, this data can be misleading because sales to distributors or retailers may not be indicative of consumer trends, but rather buy-ins from price increases or inventory conflicts.

Intermediary sales data

Data from intermediaries, similar to data from manufacturers can be influenced by price increases that may not be indicative of consumer trends and tendencies. If your organization has many different intermediaries, you can expect to receive very different data formats.
When data from retailers are not available, this data is the best indicator of consumer trends and is very valuable for gaining a clear understanding of inventory levels.
As an example, if your organization is a clothing retailer, analyzing the data from your distributors can be very helpful to gaining a better understanding than manufacturing data would.

Retail sales data

The best data to understand your consumer trends and behaviors is that of point-of-sale retail systems. It is also very valuable data for the calculation of price elasticity and performance against competitors.
However, not all retailers are willing or able to provide this data, which can hinder the data analysis and decision-making process.


In short, if you are a clothing retailer, the best data for evaluating consumer demand and behavior is that from the point-of-sale systems. When this is unavailable, request data from your distributors, but be prepared to slice, dice, and combine a variety of data formats. When all else fails, review your manufacturer data, but take the data with a grain of salt and be wary of how prices or inventory may influence the data.
Happy marketing!

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