Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM®), the global leader in driving long-term, critical business relationships for retail, foodservice and pharmacy/medical markets, announced the successful launch of its first Virtual Session on the ECRM Connect proprietary platform, developed to enable buyers and sellers to engage in live, interactive digital meetings at scale

More than 70 retail buyers participated in 630 digital face-to-face meetings with suppliers of vitamins, supplements and nutritional products during ECRM’s Healthy Living, Vitamin & Nutrition Program, the first session to go live on the new virtual platform.

The efficiency, effectiveness and usability of the platform was noted by users on both sides of the virtual meeting table. “ECRM has completely transformed the way they are doing business, quickly pivoting into an easy-to-use, convenient online platform for both buyers and sellers,” said Jeff Currie, Category Manager – Health & Beauty for Wakefern Food Corp. “It was definitely a valuable experience for me, and I look forward to attending future digital sessions with ECRM soon.”

In addition to the face to face video engagement, buyers and sellers took full advantage of the platform’s technology, which provided users with the ability to take meeting notes, review products and supplier capabilities, rank meetings with a one- to five-star rating, and communicate follow-up timelines – all this activity automatically recorded in each user’s profile to access following the meetings. Each user also had the ability to share presentations that further explain how their products could fit in each retailers’ stores.

“I used the notes really heavily,” said Kate Soffe, Category Manager, Beauty & Wellness for Overstock.com. “It was really easy to review them afterwards because it was all in one place on the follow up site. The star ratings were also helpful, and they enabled me to sort and locate my top opportunities, and in our case, we were able to send follow up emails the day after we were finished.”

Soffe also noted that having the sessions in a virtual format means she will be able to participate in additional Programs, which will result in increased opportunities for product discovery. “I was impressed with the number of qualified vendors I was able to meet with, and I do see the benefits of in-person sessions, but it’s not easy to travel a lot for work. The virtual will enable me to participate in more sessions, so a healthy mix of both in the future will be ideal.”

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