Wholesalers should help independent retailers keep up with developments in the market and best practice, according to Rodney Hunt, managing director of Today’s Group.
He said: “We need to be their eyes and ears; to be keeping a closer eye on what’s working out there, and what isn’t, in the world of the superstore giants – and feeding that back to our wholesalers and retailers – and, of course, to the caterers as well.”
One of the major changes coming up, he said, was the way that new technology would change the way that wholesalers service customers.
He said: “How many retailers, for example, will actually shop on-line? We’re all gearing up for it – even cash and carries are now utilising the system technology as part of their order collection schemes. In fact, one of our largest delivered wholesale members, who introduced on-line ordering into its operation, has had such a positive response that, already, it accounts for 32% of their business.”
Hunt said that wholesalers should also lead by example, encouraging retailers to invest in their stores, and that this was happening widely. As an example he listed members of Today’s Group, who had increased – or were about to increase – their selling space by over 20,000sq ft, including United Wholesale (Scotland)’s new 100,000sq ft depot and Wanis’ eco-friendly, state-of-the-art, sustainable new depot in East London.