Retailers’ behaviour and their views on the service provided by their wholesalers vary widely from region to region according to him!’s Cash and Carry Customer Tracking Programme.
The results of interviews with 3,500 retailers at depots across England, Scotland and Wales during 2004 showed that cash and carries in London were lagging when it came to customer satisfaction, but still achieved some of the best returns.
For instance, retailers in London and the north of England were the most frequent visitors – using “this C C” 3.4 and 3.6 times per week on average. Tom Fender, chief operating officer of him! says: “We know that retailers use other C Cs, and also source products from delivered wholesalers and even superstores or supermarkets, so this just highlights the fact that retailers really are topping up virtually every day.” London retailers also spent most per trip – £1,270 compared with £730 in Scotland. Fender adds: “This dispels the thought that London retailers visit more frequently because they’re shopping little and often.”
But when it comes to customer satisfaction and availability Scottish cash and carries get the best ratings from their customers. Research by him! has found that the vast majority (more than 80%) of failed purchases are caused by out-of-stocks, according to customers themselves. So the fact that only 18% of retailers in Scotland said they failed to buy an intended item “here today” suggests availability was highest there, compared with 41% in south-west England and Wales.
For the rest of the UK, about a third of customers said they failed to buy an intended item.
Overall across a range of key product and service criteria, Scottish retailers also gave higher ratings for their C C than all other regions within the UK, with Scotland gaining top ratings for speed of service and product availability.
Across all areas and across all criteria, branches in London, the south east of England and Anglia receive the lowest ratings. For example, availability ratings by those shopping in south-east and Anglia branches only rate 6.4/10 compared to an industry average of 7/10. Speed of service ratings in London are 6.3/10 compared to an industry average of 7.1/10.
Fender says: “When you add factors like longer travelling times due to congestion, could operators think about offering a service whereby retailers fax in their order which is picked by the time they reach the branch but still allowing the retailer to browse and interact with other retailers, something they value quite strongly?”
Retailers in Scotand and the south west of England and Wales said they were most likely to use source products from delivered wholesalers. Fender comments: “This is probably so that they can tap in to locally sourced products. But do C C operators take advantage of locally sourced products as much as they could? There’s a growing demand from shoppers.”
Retailers in the Midlands proved the most promiscuous. Eighty per cent of Midlands retailers will shop around and source products from other cash and carries.
They use 3.3 different cash and carries in a typical month compared to three as an industry average.
The number of symbol group members varies widely with customers in a cash and carry in south-west England and Wales twice as likely to be affiliated to a symbol group compared with Scotland – 22% compared with 10%.
* Harris International Marketing, the consultancy which carried out the Cash and Carry Customer Tracking Programme looking at customers behaviour in depots, has been rebranded as him!, with the new logo also appearing in a speech bubble to highlight the need for better communication and the added strapline of “turning answers into action”.