A new firm describing itself as “the future of wholesale” is promising free next-day delivery with no minimum order quantity (MOQ) in a bid to win more convenience store customers.
Coral was founded in April last year and stocks a range of ambient products from more than 1,000 specialist suppliers that aren’t available from traditional wholesalers. Currently serving stores in London, it relies on third-party logistics companies for its stockholding.
Its deliveries are made on bikes and, although this means it is unable to hold as much stock as an order loaded onto a van or a lorry, orders can be delivered the next day, allowing retailers to improve cash flow and cut waste by ordering little and often. Founder Annika Monari told betterRetailing that Coral works closely with retailers to pick brands tailored to their local customer base. “We visit retailers and analyse their customer base to work out which products we should be stocking for them. It’s all about actually going to the store and understanding the customer’s needs,” she said.
“For example, there was one retailer in London who wanted to stock a certain brand of chocolate bars. Working with them, we noticed a lot of their customers were going to the gym frequently.
“We offered alternative products based on this analysis and the store ended up selling twice as many bars each day. Their annual revenue increased by 5% as a result.
“A lot of new brands are being shut out by wholesalers who either don’t want to take risks or ask for expensive upfront payments.
“Retailers end up getting a bad service from wholesalers because they get mismatched products and not ones they ask for. “Wholesalers just want to push the products they already have. How do you know a product isn’t going to sell if you don’t take a chance with it? We want to work with any retailer for our service.”
Describing the most popular products, Monari listed water, nuts and protein bars. “It varies from product to product, but the margin we try to offer retailers is 60% to 100%. Although we have various logistics partners, we sometimes communicate with our supplier partners [to offer drop shipment].
“Some of them will deliver in half an hour, and our fastest delivery time was 15 minutes. We can achieve this by working on this localised model and there’s no MOQ,” she said.
As for future expansion, Monari said Coral’s range is likely to include chilled products. “We want to make sure we get the model in London right and ensure the service we offer to all our customers is really good,” she added. “We’ll probably test the model in another city by the end of June.”
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