ELIT ROWLAND speaks to Denys Shortt of DCS about Poundzone, display pallets and how to be brilliant
BW: How important is the wholesale channel to your business?
DS: It is our most important channel because of the growth of the major wholesale groups, including Booker, Makro, Landmark and Today’s Group. Our latest area of opportunity is the distribution of foodservice products, which has brought us many new customers. We have also increased our range of professional products and recruited new, foodservice-only sales staff.
How important are health, beauty and household to the impulse channel?
Honestly, not very – but they should be. For the majority of convenience stores and independent retailers, they remain must-stocks, as consumers expect to be able to pick up Fairy Liquid or any one of a number of essential toiletries at their nearest local shops. For this reason, we guide customers through the categories, which many find confusing. We have been providing free, independent, and, importantly, unbiased category advice to customers for more than 10 years.
How are you working together with wholesalers to grow sales?
We give multi-supplier and category representation in the sector when individual suppliers can no longer afford to economically serve. We also help customers to achieve the minimum order, which is fast approaching a truck-load, by consolidating their needs across many suppliers.
Our re-pack division also provides pack solutions for wholesalers, particularly cash & carries. These include buying stock from brand owners and packing it into a display pallet that carries branding and a space for the customer’s price. We deliver it to the depot and when the display is put out, product sales take off compared to selling from a shelf. It’s a simple but very effective sales driver.
How important is Poundzone to your business?
Very important. There is an annual investment in Poundzone in excess of £100,000, which includes display units that wholesalers can give away free to retailers that buy our toiletries and household products. This investment also includes a host of other point-of-sale material for retailers and cash & carries.
What’s the best thing about working in wholesale?
The people: we have great relationships with our customers – they know us and trust us and there is nothing I like better than catching up with old friends and making new ones. Relationships are very important in the wholesale channel and it is heartening to know that we can do business with personalities, many of whom are entrepreneurs just like me!
What opportunities do you see for wholesalers and where can wholesalers improve?
I would stress the importance of visual brilliance to wholesalers – for cash & carries, this means using tower ends effectively, creating eye-catching displays, and using signage and as many display stands as they can.
For delivered wholesalers, the concept is still effective but the mechanics alter according to specifics. Communications to customers need to make them want to buy, so need to be visually brilliant as well – they should provide visual support, whether it is a planogram, a display unit or a product-usage chart to educate staff. If any wholesaler needs help in creating visual brilliance, just give us a call.