Category focus: Driving forwards

Irish retailers are serviced year-round by highly efficient and innovative wholesale providers

In the fast-paced and demanding world of FMCG, retailers need wholesale and cash and carry partners they can rely on. Here, the leading players outline their offerings and latest developments

Print

PrintPrint
Brand Central

Read More:

16 October 2019 | 0

The scope and functionality of a cash and carry has expanded in recent years, due to the high level of competition in the industry. Cash and carry businesses need to be able to offer a host of services such as emergency topup delivery, tailored deals to local businesses and to be able to track market trends and meet demand in an everchanging market. Advanced IT systems can now connect to EPOS and be fully integrated and live with the supply chain so customers can access products 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, enabling them to do business more efficiently.

There are three strong players in the market, BWG’s Value Centre, Stonehouse Marketing Ltd and Musgrave MarketPlace, and they are driving each other forward which is hugely positive for the retailer and ultimately the consumer.

 

Q: Two of the main concerns for a cash and carry operation are geographic reach and convenience for retailers. What approach does your group take to ensure both of these areas are covered?

A: With a national network of 22 branches, we are Ireland’s largest cash and carry brand meaning we’re always close to our customer base. Customers can choose to walk into any Value Centre, 4 Aces or Better Deal branch to shop, arrange a direct delivery to their business or arrange to have their order ready for collection. We have one of the biggest sales teams on the road and our local sales reps have invaluable knowledge and experience and are available to help, whether in branch, or on the end of a phone. They are critical to our ensuring a convenient service to our retail and other customers.

Q: How do you ensure the appropriate breadth of offering for your clients? How often do you review that offering to revise or even reduce it?

A: Customers are the central focus of all our products and services and we continuously review our offering and range to ensure we’re not just meeting customer needs but exceeding their expectations. This involves working closely with suppliers to ensure a market leading range. With over five decades serving customers, our offering is built around their needs and our expertise in the retail, licensed and hospitality trades.

Our dedicated expert buyers track changes in consumer behaviour and the latest trends to ensure we have the right products available at all times, working closely with customers in this sector who have bespoke needs. Sourcing products locally is hugely important to us as we pride ourselves in supporting Irish suppliers in every way we can. Being part of the BWG Group means that through our store network of over 1,040 branded symbol stores we have the expertise, knowledge and insight into what our customers want. For example, the emergence of foodservice within our retail estate, and our bespoke offering, enables retailers to provide a diverse and appetising deli menu in environmentally friendly, compostable packaging. This sector is experiencing huge expansion and our dedicated Foodservice division is perfectly positioned to capitalise fully in this area.

John Moane, managing director, Value Centre

Q: Flexibility in the supply chain is a key element for retailers in terms of cash and credit flow? What are the main elements of your offering in this area, including ordering, payment and delivery etc?

A: Our business model is one based around the needs of our customers. We offer many ways customers can place their orders. For example, our online store Shoplink can connect to EPOS and is fully integrated and live with the supply chain. Customers can access Shoplink 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, enabling them to do business with us more efficiently and giving them back more of their time for other aspects of their business. The app version of the store will be launching shortly, making it easier than ever to access online shopping. In addition to our online store, our dedicated telesales team are also available to take orders and payment. Telesales can schedule a call with customers at their convenience to take their order and, with a flexible delivery service if the customer can’t come to us, we will ensure next day delivery. We also offer an emergency top-up service for customers, something that has proven crucial during extreme weather events.

Q: Beyond the relationship between retailer and wholesaler, there is the consumer whose needs also need to be met. How do you monitor consumer trends in product and behaviour, and how do you implement changes based on that research?

A: The wholesale market is constantly evolving with new trends coming into focus, almost on a quarterly basis. It is imperative to keep ahead of these trends to better serve our customers and we are very adept at meeting the evolving needs, wants and tastes of our customers. We are particularly strong in our ability to predict what the market will want and meeting the demand ahead of time. For example, when it comes to sustainability, we were one of the first to launch a fully compostable range of disposables. On top of this, our cash and carry estate recently switched over to LED lighting, which has helped contribute to a significant reduction in our overall carbon footprint with a reduction of CO2 emissions. Consumers are more discerning about who they give their business to and who they shop with and we are enthusiastic about catering to our customers’ needs and matching their ambitions. For example, we are currently extending our alcoholfree offering, a trend which is driven by health and wellness and the ‘zero’ movement.

Q: How do you offer value for money for retailers, including both pricing and promotion/discounting of products?

A: Being part of the BWG Group means we’re able to leverage our combined buying power and we have recently increased the amount of products on offer, not just to retailers but to all our business customers across hospitality and the licensed trades. National promotions run every three weeks, with further tactical activity generally centred on seasonal opportunities offering customers incredible value all year round. Christmas is our busiest time of the year so we focus on an extended range to cater for this occasion. Each branch also has its own local deals for their customers, so there is an incredible amount of offers to choose from all year round!

Q&A with Tom Shipsey, CEO, Stonehouse Marketing Ltd.

Q: Two of the main concerns for a cash and carry operation are geographic reach and convenience for retailers; what approach does your group take to ensure both of these areas are covered?

A: Location, location, location! With 27 nationwide locations and a fleet of vehicles serving the whole country, Stonehouse is the best provided cash and carry group to satisfy customer needs on both a scheduled and “emergency” basis. Our philosophy is: “We are there when you need us, at your times not ours.”

Q: How do you ensure the appropriate breadth of offering for your clients? How often do you review that offering to revise or even reduce it?

A: We listen to customers. We learn from suppliers and we ensure that our product range is right for our vast customer base from retail to foodservice. Living in the communities that we serve gives us a better understanding of community needs and wants.

Q: Flexibility in the supply chain is a key element for retailers in terms of cash and credit flow. What are the main elements of your offering in this area, including ordering, payment and delivery etc?

A: Being smaller than our competitors makes us constantly look at our offering, our price and our customer service proposition. With lower overheads, shorter delivery routes and superb supplier engagement, we are happy that we can meet our customer requirements in terms of delivery, value, payment and credit. As I said, we live in the communities we serve. We understand the peaks and troughs of demand from summer to bank holidays to the slower winter months. This gives us a unique view of our customers’ world and the difficulties they face.

Q: Beyond the relationship between retailer and wholesaler, there is the consumer whose needs also need to be met. How do you monitor consumer trends in product and behaviour, and how do you implement changes based on that research?

A: We closely monitor trends, attending trade shows both at home and overseas and seeing new emerging trends (especially in tourist areas) and reacting to these.

Q: How do you offer value for money for retailers, including both pricing and promotion/ discounting of products?

A: By remaining lean. Stonehouse has little ‘top heavy’ elements. Our members continue to run efficient, tight operations. This leanness, as well as collective buying, helps us compete. We can therefore provide both value and range without compromising service. People buy and people sell. We pride ourselves on being people centric.

 

 

Read More:



Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑