Future-proof your convenience plans

In 2011 him! research and consulting spoke with more than 3,200 cash and carry retail customers and these conversations highlighted some areas of opportunity for the wholesale channel. Here we explore the key opportunities in order for the channel to make resolutions for 2012.

Make shopping a more enjoyable and educational experience

Over a third of retailers do not feel shopping in their depot is an enjoyable experience. On average, retailers are spending around three hours a week in their cash and carry. Why should this not be enjoyable and, more importantly, educational?

From an educational point of view, three quarters of retail customers in cash and carries would still like more information on the top sellers in their stores with soft drinks, confectionery and crisps/snacks mentioned most frequently.

But it’s not all about retailers’ need for knowledge. Wholesalers themselves can improve the way they communicate core ranges/best sellers as almost a third of retail customers say they do not understand their wholesaler’s core range concept and a further 17% do so only to some degree.

Improve on the basics

him! asks retailers to rate their depot across seven criteria: speed of service, staff friendliness, ease of finding products, quality of fresh, product availability, prices and promotions. However, on average across these criteria, less than 70% give their depot a an ‘excellent’ score (8-out-of-10 and above), meaning there is lots of room for improvement. These are the basics every depot should be providing their customers.

More worrying is that 15% of all retail customers give their depot a score of four or less out of 10.

Educate yourself on the impending tobacco display ban

From April 2012, the UK could be operating under further restrictions to the display of tobacco products and wholesalers need to be aware of the implications of this for them and their customers. There is more on this on page 29.

Communicate better with customers

There is an overriding theme in the previous resolutions and that is communication.

Retail customers want to know more about core ranges/best sellers.

There are areas of improvement to be made to the basic service that wholesalers provide. Communicate the efforts being made to address this or the efforts to improve further.

There will be changes in 2012 with regards to legislation. Help educate retail customers what these changes are and what they mean to them and their business.

Invest more in events

There is still an opportunity for retailers to make more of events outside of Christmas, Easter and Halloween. There are still key dates such as St George’s Day and other patron saints days, Diwali, Chinese New Year or National Awareness weeks to name just a few that wholesalers and retailers should be participating and investing in more.

Conscientious retailing

According to our Future of Convenience Report local sourcing, recycling, reducing waste, saving energy, health and wellness products, and ethical/Fairtrade products will continue to grow in importance to consumers. Are wholesalers and retailers doing enough to evolve their offer in response to consumer demand and needs?

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