Price comparison websites have hit the independent channel, promising retailers, caterers and foodservice outlets the chance to see who the most competitively priced wholesalers are. But with wholesalers offering a complex system of price files and tailored price packages, will the concept really work?
There are currently two main price-comparison websites for wholesalers’ customers: the first, wwwimprovethatprice.com, started out last year as a price-comparison site for professional caterers. Today it has branched out into grocery offering subscribers access to a price-tracking service that emails you when the lowest price of an item drops.
The second, comparethewholesaler.com, which claims to have 20,000 subscribers pre-registered, is aimed at independent retailers and due to launch on August 30th.
While it’s early days for both sites, wholesalers have already voiced serious concerns over the impact they could have on the wider supply chain. Paul Gray, communications manager at Bestway says, “Depot managers have the freedom to ‘wheel and deal’ at local level, but if everything becomes available online all our wholesalers’ negotiations will become void and you’ve done a disservice to the supply chain.”
Commercial director of comparethewholesale.com, Robert Morrison, says that retailers could improve terms by at least 3%. He posted on Better Wholesaling’s LinkedIn discussion group, “That could be an extra £11k to £26k per year contribution for a retailer – they could do a lot of good with those sorts of sums in their tills.”
Read the full story in our September cover story, out August 29th or visit www.betterwholesaling.com next week