Making sure you are on the list

Three quarters of retailers bring a shopping list with them when they shop at a cash and carry, latest HIM C C Retailer research reveals.

The good news for wholesalers and suppliers alike is that 43% of retailers then go on to buy additional items not on their shopping list – grocery, soft drinks and confectionery get the highest “off shopping list” impulse purchases.

This makes me wonder whether shopping lists have the “I must not forget under any circumstances” products written down – leaving the retailer to then browse the cash and carry to buy other discretionary lines, or take advantage of current promotions?

The triggers for these impulse “off shopping list” purchases are special offers (76%), “forgot I needed it until I saw it” (20%), “profit margin is good” (19%) and “the display or packaging caught my eye” highlighting the importance of impactful display stands, clear profit on return information and secondary siting around cash and carries.

Two thirds of retailers write their shopping lists just before leaving their stores and heading to the cash and carry (which explains why some lists are written on the back of torn off outers). One third build their lists over a period of time (but with retailers visiting cash and carries 2.6 times a week, on average, this “period of time” can’t be more than a couple of days)

Last week, I saw that one wholesaler has created shopping lists with core “must stock” lines listed, allowing the retailer to check a tick box and enter the quantity they need.

Using shopping lists to highlight “must stock” lines is a clever marketing policy, as a third of retailers say their wholesaler does not highlight “must stock” lines to them, and particularly when 42% of retailers say they compile lists by product types rather than by SKU.

Why do products appear on retailers’ shopping lists? Three quarters appear because the retailer has run out, a third are always on their list.

How do suppliers make sure their products feature on retailers’ shopping lists? Could suppliers give away free tear-off shopping lists with their products and brands featured heavily?

Can we go one stage further and use the internet in the same way consumers use web sites and have previous items ordered already highlighted and easy to select? We have asked retailers again whether they have access to the internet (68% do) and how often they use the internet for business purposes (three times a week – coincidentally about the same number of times per week retailers visit cash and carries).

We have asked them whether they would be interested to enter a scheme of faxing or emailing their order to the cash and carry, which is then picked by branch staff ready for collection later that day. A quarter said they would be interested.

It would also help drive traffic to wholesalers’ web sites (currently one in four retailers look at their cash and carry’s web site). And remember that retailers turn to wholesalers first for impartial advice and recommendations.

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