Launched in the UK in July last year, the ‘Bees’ service allows wholesalers partnered with the supplier to order directly through the company at any time while accessing more detailed information on popular products ordered by retailers.
BBG convenience and wholesale sales director Sunny Mirpuri told Better Retailing the service is being used by 35 wholesalers in convenience and hospitality, helping them improve how they work with stores. “The platform allows wholesalers and retailers to receive insights they never had before,” he said.
“Ordering for smaller wholesalers was previously quite a manual process. There’s not a lot of information they could receive as they would have to email in or call to make an order. It was quite arduous and slow.
“Bees allows them to look up products right away and have more transparency on pricing and promotions. They can order at any time, they can look at what are their faster-selling products and look at ways they can optimise their range.”
United Wholesale Scotland is one of the wholesalers using the Bees app. Its managing director Chris Gallacher told Better Retailing the service was helping to improve availability and forecasting for stores, as the wholesaler was able to receive real-time updates on product availability.
Also available worldwide, global versions of the service can be used by retailers to order stock directly and feature products from other suppliers, such as confectionery and toiletries.
Mirpuri told Better Retailing these customers were able to access additional features such as planograms, invoicing and point-based loyalty schemes where they can redeem gifts.
Although the company has no immediate plans to make Bees available to retailers in the UK, Mirpuri did not rule out the possibility in the future.
He added: “We’ve got plans to add more wholesalers and there are a number of different ones we work with that have retail fascias. We want to organise discussions with them. We’ve got ambitious growth plans in the UK for the service.”
Wholesale expert David Gilroy told Better Retailing the launch of Bees could pave the way for more suppliers going direct to retail. “It might not work as well for suppliers with small-margin products that they need to shift in large quantities quickly. However, it’s ideal for companies that sell household goods, general merchandise or vaping suppliers.”
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