In this month’s cover story, Better Wholesaling looks at creating the right promotions for your customers.
We spoke to a variety of industry experts to get their views on providing the best promotional strategies. We also asked a number of retailers to share how they have used promotions in their stores.
Charlie Luxford, Beckford Arms, Tisbury, Wiltshire
“We are a specialist country pub with a bed & breakfast. Because we are so specialist and quality is so important, promotions are not something we look for. We use 35 different wholesalers, including three for meat, two for fish and three for vegetables and from time to time we will take advantage of a product they have on special, a particular fish for example or meat.”
Bintesh Amin, Blean Village Londis, Kent
“Promotions are very important because they drive footfall and they can give us good margins. I get a mixture of phone calls, texts and emails about promotions but I’ve turned a lot of them off because it’s too much. In terms of price points, £1 is the best for my customers. £2 and £5 are also good. Trade days are always worthwhile for me when it comes to getting some good deals.”
Rehka Cumbridge, Midlands Catering, Sutton Coldfield
Quality is more important to us than promotions but we do make the most of promotions where we can. Costco does regular sampling events, which I find helpful. If we like the product we taste, then we buy it. Some wholesalers could improve their communication. We like to know in advance what is going to be on promotion but at some depots you have to ask to find out.
Nicola Oldroyd, The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire
Our menus change monthly and according to the seasons, but regardless of the dishes, we have to offer our customers consistently high quality food. We do get approached by wholesalers offering promotions – we get anything up to 30 emails a week. If something comes through that’s seasonal then we might go for it but in general, we prefer to stick to the suppliers we know and trust.
Sandeep Bains, Simply Fresh, Faversham, Kent
Promotions are really important to us and our customers – we buy from Costcutter, Booker and Batleys who send us weekly promotional emails which are useful. The £1 product ranges move fast so if there’s something on promotion for £1 I’ll be interested. We would like to see a wider range of products on promotion – at the moment there’s a lot of duplication across depots.
Jill Livesey, executive director at him!
Nearly 80% of retailers’ customers say that their wholesalers’ promotional brochure influenced what they put on their list. However for caterers only 58% said that leaflets influenced the items on their shopping list. A staggering 69% of retailers’ customers notice POS in depot – we advise wholesalers and suppliers to avoid using industry jargon – no one knows what ‘variant’ or ‘rennovation’ mean!
Matt Gouldsmith, head of route to market wholesale at Lucozade Ribena Suntory
67% of retailers make a shopping list which makes the wholesaler’s role difficult in order to encourage spend per trip in depot. To help break the shopping list habit, it is critical to focus on visibility of promotional signage and location within depot. Our highest percentage uplift on Ribena was on a buy-3-get-1-free mechanic, which allowed retailers to buy across a wide range of flavours.
Naren Chotai, area manager, Dhamecha
We invest heavily into promotions to help our customers to compete. Our suppliers do the same and the investment always pays off and we’d like more suppliers to invest more time and resource into our channel. The suppliers that make the effort to visit our branches and build relationships with depot managers reap the rewards – you can’t just rely on managing everything via head office level.
Sue Guilfoyle, national account manage, JJ Food Service
It’s important for wholesalers to acknowledge that caterers are different to retailers in how they shop – caterers in particular need reliable prices so that they can maintain consistent margins on their menus. Our three-monthly promotional brochure guarantees fixed prices for a 12-week period. After all, having a great deal one one week is no good if your customers can’t have it the next.
Jason Finch, director, Port80
The whole industry is upside down right now. It’s defined by manufacturers making deals with wholesalers. The three-weekly promotions cycle is archaic and will have to die out. There are too many promotions in this industry. Did Amazon become the biggest retailer on the planet by using three-weekly promotion cycles and Deals of the Day?