Online wholesaler ShelfNow is looking to grow in the convenience sector as part of an expansion plan.
Offering thousands of products from hundreds of suppliers across Europe, the company is positing itself as a marketplace where retailers can discover specialist brands and the story behind them.
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Speaking to Alex Yau of sister title RN, founder and chief executive Philip Linardos explained that the main focus for its customer base is not “huge supermarkets from franchised chains”. “We focus on smaller grocers, as independent retailers provide a major opportunity for us,” he said.
“Similarly, the brands we focus on range from challenger brands to medium-sized companies, and not mainstream manufacturers.” According to Linardos, this approach enables the company to offer independent retailers a service that a larger cash and carry wholesaler cannot.
“Any retailer coming to our website to look for a new product will have a very different experience to walking into a cash and carry,” he said. “They can access direct information about the product or the brand, and get an in-depth story about them. “They can also contact the supplier directly themselves and negotiate pricing and deals.
“The website is also designed to offer products that are more tailored to the retailer. It gathers information on their previous purchases or what they browse. “Over time, the product range on the website will become more relevant to what the retailer is interested in.”
Deliveries can be arranged between retailers and suppliers, although ShelfNow has its own logistics network to enable deliveries itself. “We are in charge of producing all the invoicing and payment between the retailer and the supplier,” Linardos added.
“Many of our customers have come to us because their usual wholesaler was too strict. “Our business model and how we operate means we can be a lot cheaper than a traditional wholesaler. “Unlike a typical wholesaler, we’re not tied to a number of suppliers, meaning we can potentially offer a range from thousands of suppliers. “Our process can also help a retailer improve the efficiency of their business.
“Often, a small business will have lots of invoices from several suppliers. We can automate that and manage all that for them from one place.”
When asked to comment on what the most popular products being purchased through ShelfNow were, Linardos revealed: “Top sellers include products relating to gut health. That’s a big priority for vegetarians and vegans. That area is growing. CBD is also a growing area, as is the ‘low and no’ movement within alcohol.”