Perceived wisdom and experience will only get you so far. To really improve sales, you need to look hard at your data, writes Rachel James

1. Price points: find the ‘sweet spot’

Wholesalers naturally promote important lines at key seasonal times to attract customers and maximise sales. However, the promoted price is often based on suppliers’ recommendations, past experience or competition, rather than analysis of volume vs price. We have often found instances of a lower price having little impact on volume.

Most volume items have a pricing band that produces the best return – anything above the band brings sales to a shuddering halt, anything below is just giving money away.

cartoon image2. The seasonal period can be different to expectations

There are all kinds of perceived wisdom about customers’ seasonal purchasing. Certainly, the fact that promotional leaflets are issued some time before the event acknowledges that customers plan purchasing (although they often don’t). However, product sub-categories actually have different characteristics that should affect activity.

For instance, Christmas beer tends to be a regular build-up purchase whilst Christmas foods are not – something like mince pies will have one main purchase and then a very low level top-up. So, to maximise the opportunity, it makes sense to look at your sales data, establish the peak buying time for mince pies then dovetail a promotion with this slot. Equally, with beer you would want to promote continually and more intensively as the period goes on.

3. Tailor promotions to customer behaviour

There is a range of products that only tend to be bought once  – or certainly very few times – at seasonal periods, Easter eggs being a classic example. It’s important to consider what type of promotion really generates stock-loading by customers in these instances, instead of simply encouraging them to pick up a single case. After all, if they stock up in one go from one wholesaler, they will not be buying elsewhere.

4. What to stock: data-driven reviews of range

Manufacturers are continuously innovating, especially with seasonal products, but with so many new products to keep up with, it can be difficult to know which to give the most exposure. It’s critical to keep an eye on new lines across all categories – some may need more support than you and the supplier originally thought.

The only way to monitor this is with sales data. Use it to remove slow-moving stock and make space for the bestsellers.

5. Hit list – use data to identify new business

There are many customers at every depot who will not be buying key lines or seasonal products that could be generating more sales for the wholesaler whilst also improving their businesses. Data can be used to identify them and incentivise them with targeted promotional vouchers to pick up these lines. Whether it’s because they are buying the products elsewhere or simply don’t know they should have them in the first place, it’s always best to personalise the offer.

temperature and weather6. Consider temperature increase and volume uplift

People appreciate that certain products have increased sales during periods of very warm – or cold – weather but few have developed a model to understand the actual uplift. Retailers tend to hold off stocking products until the warm or cold weather is actually here, which can often be too late.

If it can be demonstrated using data that sales of certain products will increase during these times, wholesalers can encourage retailers to take more stock based on the evidence, benefiting everyone involved.

7. Value your premium space – are you getting a good return?

We all know that space is at a premium in any cash & carry, which is why it’s important to track sales that come from off-shelf displays and rack-ends. Every square inch of your business should be earning you money, so force products to pull their weight! If a product is not selling in a premium location, move it and put something else in its place.  

8. Range management – space is a key asset

Check your range and cull lines that aren’t selling – space has a cost and if a product is taking up room and not earning its keep, it does not deserve the space.

Equally, if you have a large range and all of it is selling, consider consolidation. After all, a wide spread of sales across an over-sized range is an expensive way to manage your inventory whilst also confusing customers.

9. Assume nothing, plan for everything

Many wholesalers talk anecdotally about a good summer being more important than Christmas but that is not true of all product categories. They all have different drivers that can be understood and maximised. Timing can also be skewed – many think retailer or caterer sales are equally comparable to wholesaler sales in the same period. But in many cases, there are disconnects that need to be recognised and planned for, such as customers stocking up with liqueurs well ahead of Christmas.

10. Customer targeting – grow sales with existing customers

Ahead of key seasonal activity, look back at your customers’ shopping behaviour.  Investigate who spent a lot last year and target them with offers that stretch their spend by increased overall purchases or by buying into additional categories. 

Many businesses reward non-stockists with vouchers, but consider rewarding the good customers. Check lapsed customers, too. Who hasn’t been in recently or only comes in at certain times of the year? How can you inspire more loyalty from them?  It’s easier to increase existing customers’ spend than it is to get new ones.


  1. How come lebron wasn’t in the 2010 dunk contest I know why because it was the worst and watered down dunk contest ever and he wasn’t going to be part of it although he could have made it better

  2. Nossa, Burning Ambition eu conhecia de algum lugar, mas juro que se ouvisse não saberia dizer de quem era. Reach Out eu não conhecia, tem uma pegada hard rock bem no estilo de Wasted Years, curti pra caramba! Mas digamos que a temática não é muito maideniana

  3. I’m still here. But then I comment pretty frequently anyway. My reader acts up so I’ve taken to just trawling through my regulars, and I notice when you update in the homeschooljournal Dashboard. I suppose I should take the time to sort out my reader issues. And I haven’t even checked my stats in recent memory or often enough to notice trends.

  4. Sikken goding till hurts! Underbar! Vilken dröm för en pysselune eller legosamlare. Eller rentav en mamma för den delen. Som gömställe för grejer vid stKi¤ndng.Ãram!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.