Wholesalers need to ensure availability

Quality at the right price was the message of the presentation by Steve Barnett, trading director, Costco.

He said that this combination together with excellent execution and ensuring availability was the secret of building trust with Costco’s members so they kept returning to buy its products.

Barnett said that Costco’s retailer customers had advantages that they could exploit as local retailers because they knew their local market well and could be more nimble in reacting to changes than the big stores.

He said that Costco’s role was to make it easier for retailers to add value to their products, and it did this with a variety of support. One example of this, he said, was a roadshow that Costco had organised. It enabled retailers to try new products, but it also gave them the opportunity to talk to whisky experts and to pass that knowledge on to their consumers.

He said Costco was also willing to take some of the risk to help retailers, buying in large quantities to ensure availability. If retailers buy products on promotion and it did not sell, Costco would take back unused product and provide a refund.

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