Parfetts making major service investments

Parfetts is making significant investment into improving its online and cash and carry service for retailers, adding more promotional schemes, loyalty services and improvements to in-depot ranging.

The development will see the firm make online ordering more accessible and easier to use for all its retail customers, while also examining the potential rollout of an in-depot digital loyalty scheme for stores.

The firm’s joint managing director Guy Swindell told our sister title Better Retailing: “We’re continuing to invest in our ordering platforms and this involves thinking about the customer journey. We’re opening up the app to all customers now, so we can send offer notifications through the app, let them browse the range and pricing, and set up shopping lists. It’s a big investment into the online piece.”

Parfetts head of marketing Jamie Ferguson added the navigation through the app would also be simplified, working in a similar way to ordering apps used by general consumers. Swindell also stressed that, despite investment into its online services, cash and carry was still a sector the firm would continue to “champion and invest in.”

This will involve expanding large digital screens first installed at its recent Birmingham depot to its other seven sites across England. These displays will tell retailers about promotions from Parfetts and major suppliers.

There will also be dedicated bays for the firm’s Go Local own label, which is expected to expand from 150 to 200 lines over the course of 2024. Swindell said: “Cash and carry is a fundamental part of our business model. If a retailer comes into our depots, they will see great margin, an extensive range and a lot of staff willing to help.

Read more: Parfetts reports 6.7% turnover increase to £646m

“It’s about the experience a retailer is getting and giving them an engaging event every time they come in. It’s absolutely fundamental for us to push cash and carry, as it’s the foundation of our business.

“We are looking at adding more categories to our own label and we’ve got a few things which are ready to be rolled out pretty soon. It really adds to our portfolio and gives us another unique selling point.”

Parfetts notably opened its Birmingham depot in March 2023 and the firm has since added 50 retailers in the region to its Go Local and The Local fascias. Retailers as part of the fascias are also seeing support into more localised services, with Parfetts helping to invest in areas such as food to go and beer caves.

The opening has also enabled it to expand further south in England towards Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, since it began operating a delivered service from the site six months ago.

Swindell said the growth and positive word of mouth has enabled Parfetts to attract new membership from unaffiliated stores and rival symbol retailers. He added the company has also seen more demand from retailers with larger stores of more than 2,000sq ft and multi-site operators.

Asked by Better Retailing about further expansion plans, Swindell responded: “Definitely. You try and have some logistical break, but it never quite works out that way because of interest from retailers. We get people contacting us all the time and we look at what’s possible.

“We can deliver within a 70-mile radius from our existing depots, and we can perhaps go a bit further. Birmingham is massive, but we’ve got interest outside there. This is the reason why we’ve invested in such a big team to allow us to follow these leads.

“Birmingham does open up a huge part of the country, but it does have to be conservative and sustainable growth. We’re not racing up to every town. We closely keep our eyes and ears open. We’re focusing on our existing estate and down the line somewhere we would like to keep expanding.

“We’re a fiercely ambitious company. There’s no stopping us.”

As an experienced journalist and editor for more than a decade, Alex has a proven record of breaking some of the biggest exclusives across the convenience and wholesale industries.


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