Paul Hill catches up with Diageo to see what the company is up to in the wholesale channel?
How has Diageo helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
We work closely with wholesalers to understand how we can help them – whether this is in depot or through their online platform. Ultimately, our goal is the same as theirs – we want to increase sales and drive people online.
Our first step when working with a wholesaler is to do an online audit of their existing ecommerce site using our four pillars – reach, ease, inspiration and education – as a checklist to ensure the website is working to its full potential.
We then present a report to them and identify any potential issues or areas for improvement before working with them to refine it.
What role do you think apps will play in the future of wholesale?
The importance of mobile apps should not be underestimated – mobile purchases are growing and while the spend through apps is relatively modest at the moment, we expect this to grow.
Currently, app purchases account for around 10-20% of online sales depending on the wholesaler.
Many wholesale apps have integrated barcode scanners which allow the user to scan the barcodes of products as and when they need restocking – this simple function allows a convenience retailer to walk around their store and fill their basket at unprecedented speed.
What is the greatest challenge the wholesale industry faces?
The wholesale sector is constantly evolving, and we are now finding that more and more orders are being made online. Wholesale ecommerce platforms offer flexibility versus in-depot experiences, so the challenge here is for wholesalers to adapt fast enough and to ensure their ecommerce offering is up to the task.
What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
It is not only the wholesale landscape that is changing, but also the way customers now consume alcohol. We have seen a real shift towards healthier and balanced choices in the market, including our recently launched Smirnoff Infusions product.
Wholesalers should continue to profit from these new opportunities by stocking products that respond to consumer trends.
What is Diageo’s greatest achievement in the past year?
The launch of Gordon’s Pink Premium Distilled Gin is right up there – it continues to perform phenomenally well and is something we’re very proud of.
We recently introduced a 35cl bottle, too, as we know this size is particularly popular with convenience customers.
Are you planning any activity wholesalers should be aware of?
Absolutely – we always try to run promotions and in-depot activations at key calendar events in the year.
As always, we’ll be doing something exciting around the Guinness Six Nations as this is our second year into the sponsorship and our first year worked really well. We will also look for another year of portfolio activity over the summer.
What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the category?
Get the basics right by using our four pillars. Focus on making sure your platform is offering customers what they need – it should be offering something different from the traditional wholesale experience and it needs to stand out against the competition.