Convenience stores will soon have access to the new Confex loyalty scheme, which will be launched by the wholesale buying group in April.

The loyalty scheme will give store owners that take part access to exclusive promotions, deals, merchandising opportunities and rebates. 

The service was officially unveiled at Confex’s ‘Growth Plans for the New Decade’ event in central London last week.

The Confex Retail Club will be available to the 1,100 retailers supplied by the Millennium Group and 10 other yet-to-be-announced wholesalers.

Similar to rival retailer clubs such as those operated by Booker, Bestway and Parfetts, store owners can take part free of charge and will receive a four-page brochure of 20 promotions every three weeks. The available promotions will exclude chilled, frozen, tobacco and alcohol products. 

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Retailers will also get countertop leaflets and shelf-edge labels, alongside in-store posters promoting the fastest-selling lines and PoS units.

Confex business development manager Simon King told betterRetailing that retailers who wish to join the club will be chosen based on their level of loyalty to the wholesaler. “This puts us on a level playing field with every other retail club,” he said. 

“All we ask is for retailers to show us they can be compliant, and they will do this by taking photographs of stock in the store to demonstrate this.

“They’ll get the bonuses associated with the retail club by doing so.” 

He added that Confex would work with suppliers through central distribution to guarantee retailers get the products.

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“It’s easy to say we’ll run 60 to 70 promotions and manage this massive retail club, but how are we going to manage it effectively? We want to keep it small at the start,” he said.

The retail club’s promotional cycle will match rival buying group Unitas Wholesale’s, which Confex has a supply agreement with. 

When asked if the retail club will conflict with others that retailers will already be members of, King said: “Existing retailers might be part of a symbol group already, but we won’t always be running the same products on promotion at the same time. 

“Will there always be competitive retail promotions out there? Yes, there will, but they’re independent, and the retail club is a simple operation that they can choose how to fit into their model. It’s a collaborative approach.”

Confex managing director Tom Gittins also revealed the group is looking to win over more traditional wholesale businesses. He said: “Although we’re primarily delivered, we’re looking for more cash and carry members.

“We still see a place in retail for the traditional cash and carry, and the addition of those members can help complement the retail club.”

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