Guy Swindell is the retail director at Parfetts
What have you learnt from the past twelve months from the perspective of running a wholesale operation?
I’m immensely proud of my colleagues who pulled together and worked hard to ensure that our customers were supported through the pandemic. It was all hands to the pump to maintain service levels, and we’ve had some fantastic feedback from retailers who appreciated our efforts.
Parfetts is uniquely positioned to support its retailers because it is employee-owned. We had the flexibility to maintain promotions, opening hours and delivery throughout 2020 to support our customers. Our focus on the customer has seen a leap in the membership of both Go Local and the retail club.
How has your business changed since the pandemic hit?
Convenience stores have seen significant growth through 2020 as consumers shopped locally. Parfetts stepped-up to ensure retailers had the range they needed while maintaining promotions and value. Additionally, our team kept a focus on providing the best wholesale experience possible. It’s an approach that has attracted first-time customers and more frequent visits.
The last 12 months have seen new investment in the depots to ensure they provide an excellent experience. We’ve also grown our delivered operations’ capacity with our GOLD service roll-out, which allows retailers to order up to midnight for next-day delivery. It’s about giving retailers the choice and flexibility they need to run their businesses efficiently.
As we hopefully head into a post-Covid world, what advice/tips can you offer from what you’ve experienced?
It’s clear that our sector continues to face challenges and the future remains uncertain. Parfetts is planning for all potential outcomes and investment continuous across the board from our depots to more team members. The digital programme continues to grow at pace, and we are expanding our logistics capability.
The focus has to be on the customer and anticipating their changing needs. We believe flexibility will be key over the coming years as retailers quickly adapt to different consumer shopping habits and new grocery trends.