Alex Yau talks wholesalers’ pros and cons with a retailer.
NAME: Bay Bashir
STORE: Lifestyle Express Belle Vue Convenience
OPERATIONAL SINCE: 1997
CUSTOMER NUMBERS: Average of 50 per day
Which wholesalers do you use and why do you use them? My wholesaler is Blakemore. I use it to purchase my stock because my four stores across Middlesbrough are branded under its Lifestyle Express fascia and I get exclusive deals and promotions as a retailer.
Do you get your orders by visiting the cash & carry or having them delivered? I do go to the cash & carry occasionally but I use delivered wholesale more. I am a busy retailer running four stores, so having my stock delivered to each store in the mornings is more convenient. It allows me to dedicate more time to examine what products I can add to the shop and how I can improve my overall business.
How can wholesalers improve the online ordering experience for retailers? A lot of the products on the shelves in the depot differ to what is available on Blakemore’s website. I find a lot of multibuy products when I go to the warehouse, but there is an absence of them online. It just makes sense to have them online because it benefits my overheads at the end of the day and being able to see what is available from a computer is really convenient. I do not have to rush to the depot when a certain product is running low.
How can wholesalers improve the cash & carry experience for retailers? Increase availability. You can have the best promotions and products in the world but this all means nothing if retailers cannot get any of the products into your store. An empty store looks unappealing and really puts customers off.
What in-depot activity is likely to capture your attention and get you to purchase promotional items? There needs to be more promotions on products in the cash & carry – not only for myself to improve my overall margins but also on-pack promotions for customers. Pricemarked packs are some of the most popular products in my store.
What categories would you like to see wholesalers improve in? I am having a big push towards fresh & chilled this year. It is a big trend, but I find my depot has not really put much focus on fresh & chilled items, which is a growing category for retailers. This will potentially be a big footfall driver in my shop, but I need to know I can get in a good supply of such items.
How would you rate the wholesale sector when it comes to responding to trends? Blakemore is a bit slow to respond to the latest trends. I find it can be last to trends in comparison to other wholesalers and it does not really advertise them as much as it should.
What are the food trends you predict are going to grow this year? Fresh & chilled and food to go are popular and I expect the momentum to continue further throughout the year for myself and other retailers. Customers are busy people and they are after more convenient and healthy options when they are shopping for groceries.