Priyanka Jethwa talks wholesalers’ pros and cons with a retailer.
BW: Which wholesalers do you use and why do you use them?
We mainly use Booker and then Bestway for the lines Booker does not stock, such as Magnum Tonic Wine and Hennessy Cognac. Booker has good customer service and always delivers on time, so that is helpful to my operation, but I end up cherry-picking at Bestway when they have an ongoing deal.
BW: Do you get your orders by visiting the cash & carry or having them delivered?
I have something delivered every day, except Sundays. I have 90% of goods delivered, as this way, I do not have to waste time going into the cash & carry when I could be working in the store – it is just more convenient this way. But I do go in to top up, occasionally.
BW: How can wholesalers improve the online ordering experience?
The Booker website is really user-friendly, but Bestway’s is not. However, Bestway’s app is useful and I normally use that to place orders. I would like to see Booker launch an app.
BW: How can wholesalers improve the cash & carry experience?
Bestway could improve on its customer service in-depot. Booker has not got the widest range in Northampton, but it recently underwent a re-layout, so hopefully it will increase and better its range.
BW: What in-depot activity is likely to capture your attention and get you to purchase promotional items?
Definitely end-of-aisle promotions. Booker are great at highlighting and signposting when something is on promotion.
However, we do not see much in-depot theatre such as tastings any more. Costco do it really well, but both Booker and Bestway do not do it at all, and I would like to see more of this brought back. When Booker host a ‘thank you’ day, the tastings are targeted at caterers, not the retailers, so it is not really helpful to us.
BW: What categories would you like to see wholesalers improve in?
Confectionery – specifically, I would like to see more seasonal bays. Most of my confectionery comes from Bobby’s Foods, but I would love to use Hancocks Cash & Carry if it was closer.
BW: How would you rate the wholesale sector when it comes to responding to trends?
I think it could be much better. For example, Echo Falls Summer Berries Flavoured Vodka seems to be doing really well and the conversations I have had with other retailers confirm this. However, my local Booker does not seem to stock it.
Even if they are in the process of stocking it, the reaction should have been much quicker. The Northampton Booker seems to be slower in bringing new lines and I find that bigger wholesalers, generally, tend to be slower than independents when it comes to this – so this is something that needs to be improved on.
BW: What are the food trends you predict are going to grow this year?
Hot, convenient food-to-go – something that customers can come in, buy and eat on the move.