What does a Southampton-based retailer require from his wholesaler?

Meten Lakhani

Store: St Mary’s Supermarket

Location: Southampton

Number of staff: Three full-time, two part-time

Length of time in the industry: 20 years

Average sales per day: £1,900

“Free trials of products and free stock deals are key for getting me interested in promotional items”

Which wholesalers do you use and why do you use them?

Our main supplier is Booker.

We have a fair amount of competition around us, so having a good relationship with them is vital and they have a great service; we use them largely for their reliability.

When I started working full-time 20 years ago, we had a small store, but now
we have a 2,800sq ft store, so having Booker as our supplier has been valuable. I’m near university accommodation, so a lot of my customers are students. 

Do you get your orders by visiting the cash and carry or having them delivered?

We have deliveries Mondays through to Saturdays and the availability is great –
they are always happy to sort out any issues I have.

All of our stock gets delivered in the mornings because it’s more convenient, meaning
it’s on my shelves early the same day.

How can wholesalers improve the online ordering experience?

Wholesales can improve by telling customers when products are out of stock
in real time and regularly updating them on the system. This way, retailers become aware of this quickly and can then source those products elsewhere.

How can wholesalers improve the cash and carry experience?

Wholesalers can improve the experience by allowing for more promotions in store.
We can then encourage customers to come into the store more frequently and drive sales. As a business, we are always looking for ways to grow, and having these promotions will help.

What in-depot activity is likely to capture your attention and get you to purchase promotional items?

Free trials of products and free stock deals are key for getting me interested in promotional items Booker currently have on offer.

What categories would you like to see wholesalers improve in?

Traditional grocery is one category wholesalers need to improve in, as well as toiletries. As it stands, I need to source these goods elsewhere, which can be time-consuming.

How would you rate the wholesale sector when it comes to responding to trends?

In my experience, Booker are quite slow when they bring in new products, so
retailers can be left in the dark a little when it comes to new trends. Bestway,
however, are absolutely brilliant when it comes to new product releases.

What food trends do you predict will grow this year?

You never really know what trends will increase each year, but I definitely think frozen and chilled ready meals will be on the rise.

Find out the wholesale needs of East Midlands retailer Suraj Agath

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Paul Hill
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. Paul can be found on Twitter on @BW_PaulHill, or can be contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 020 7689 3376.

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