Jai’s journey: Finding a new supply partner

Our plans to develop our store provided us with an opportunity to review our entire business, including the entire customer journey and experience. The key element of this is our main supply partner.

We have been trading with Booker’s Premier fascia since my wife and I bought our store. It has been a very positive relationship for us, with plenty to gain from the benefits that it has to offer. These have included being a member of their Premier Retailer Group with the chance to meet other successful retailers.

The deciding factors

Our current supplier arrangements are a key part of this review. Our key supply partner would need to offer:

  1. A great range, including a known and extensive own label offer
  2. Brilliant prices for us and our customers
  3. A fascia that will be recognisable to the customers we have now and those we want to attract
  4. The knowledge and understanding to help us deal with our Asda challenge
  5. A great support package
  6. An industry leading promotional package
  7. An EPoS system that will work for my business
  8. A personalised store development process
  9. The expectation of building a long-term, values-based relationship
  10. Easy access to and support from the supply partner’s senior management team
  11. A relationship where I am in control

Which wholesaler is right for me?

There are many wholesalers that offer both symbol and non-symbol supply arrangements. These include Palmer & Harvey, Booker, Bestway or the regional cash-and-carrys. At one end of the spectrum there are symbol only suppliers who just deliver and at the other end there are traditional cash-and-carry outlets.

We have used Booker as a delivered wholesaler for the majority of our replenishment buying. However, I have been a regular visitor to their depot as well as the others in Sheffield to find and buy pallet deals that we wanted as a feature of our store promotional offer.

Parfetts was also on our list as I have been a regular visitor to its depot in the city for many years. I spoke to general manager Chris Carter about my plans, who pointed me to their customer development director Andy Whitworth, who came to visit our store.

A good fit

I was immediately taken by the way Andy so quickly helped us with our list of needs. He also arranged for me to visit some of their Go Local Extra stores. Visiting these stores and meeting many successful retailers helped me understand what I could expect from working with Parfetts.

After more meetings with Andy Whitworth to discuss the future of our business we were ready to sign a supply and symbol group contract with them. As with any change it’s only when we have had the full experience that we will know how its working for us and more importantly our customers.

What factors do you consider when looking for a supply partner? Leave your comments below.


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