Category guide: Batteries

With Christmas coming up quickly, wholesalers must be ready to support an increase in their customers’ demand for batteries, writes John Silcox.

In today’s electronic and digital age, it’s ever more important for wholesalers to consider the battery requirements of their retail customers. The increased usage of household gadgets – including items such as portable speakers and digital scales – is adding to consumer demand for these convenient power sources and batteries are now needed for a much wider range of devices with specific energy requirements.

Christmas sees demand for batteries peak as adults and children look to get their battery-powered gifts working. Wholesalers should look to support their customers by stockpiling a wide range of batteries in preparation for the sudden surge of buyers. Better Wholesaling asks three industry experts to share their insights into the battery market.

Top sales tips
  • Specialist advice: Many consumers’ knowledge of batteries is confined to the main sizes. It’s therefore up to wholesalers and retailers to guide them to the right products for their needs.
  • Stock Big Brands: Shoppers are less inclined to purchase lesser-known battery packs from an unknown brand and tend to stick to two or three market leaders to ensure quality and durability.
  • Display correctly: Battery purchases are often impulse-driven so therefore wholesalers must ensure their battery offerings are boldly displayed in their catalogues and showrooms.
  • Promotional offers: Buyers will usually only buy batteries when they are needed, but discount offers can interest them in larger quantities. Wholesalers should ensure that they give their retail customers many opportunities to do promotional offers.
What is the best strategy for stocking batteries?

Anthony Sewart, sales and marketing director at Varta: Alkaline remains the most widely used technology for the mass market and a range that includes the main five cell sizes – AA, AAA, C, D and 9V – will satisfy around 80% of consumer requirements. Varta’s best-selling line is High Energy, which is suitable for most everyday, high-drain devices, such as toys, computer accessories and torches.

Mandy Iswarienko, marketing director at Energizer: Stock up ahead of key selling periods – sales of batteries see the largest growth during the Christmas, Easter and Summer periods. A third of all batteries are sold in the run up to Christmas.

Amit Juneja, sales director at Benross (the exclusive distributor of Polaroid batteries in Europe): Suppliers need to offer their wholesale customers a constant supply of stock to cope with batteries’ quick turnover. A supplier’s ability to be flexible with stock is important, as requirements change from retailer to retailer. For instance, the requirements of an independent photography specialist shop will be far different from those of a convenience retailer.

How can wholesalers improve best practice?

AS: Wholesalers can also benefit from investing in their battery display, helping retailers select the best ranges for their own stores and drawing attention to the additional revenue that batteries can generate. A mix of single packs, bulk packs and ready-to-sell displays of promotional products should cover most ­requirements.

MI: On average, each convenience store in the UK sells £681 of batteries per year (£13.10 per week) – but 16% of wholesale depots are missing out on this high margin (50% retail margin) opportunity. Make sure you are advising retailers about this opportunity by signposting in-store and talking to your employees about it.

AJ: Shoppers are less inclined to purchase lesser-known battery packs from unknown brands. Stocking a licensed range enables wholesalers to provide their customers with a well-known and trusted brand that has years of heritage. 


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