Britvic reinforces commitment to great service

Trystan Farnworth (pictured), commercial director of wholesale at Britvic, offers a candid assessment on where and how wholesalers can improve.

What is your biggest source of frustration when you scour a soft drinks category?

I’ve actually been amazed at how little category management is deployed, particularly in cash & carries. Some of the old habits around listing a piece of NPD just because a supplier pays a listing fee are, in my opinion, outdated and damaging to the overall category. I’m also surprised at how many depots merchandise by volume, rather than value/profit. This tends to result in duplication of ranges, especially very low-value tertiary brands, which is a driver of deflation.

Is cross-category merchandising an area that is underutilised in the soft drinks market?

Without question, cross-category merchandising is massively underused but it can’t be done on everything all of the time. Suppliers and wholesalers need to work closely together to choose a few key opportunities and scale them appropriately to make a real impact. Within our own portfolio, there are ample opportunities to appeal to all depot and outlet types. As we look to grow our Purdey’s brand with wholesalers specialising in upmarket licensed environments, Gin & Purdey’s becomes an interesting and fast-growing opportunity. The same applies to water and our Robinsons dilutable range.

Through your discussions with retail customers, what do they value most when they visit a depot or order from a delivered wholesaler?

Without a doubt, I’d say that offering a personal touch in terms of depot management and supplier representative advice is most valued, as well as being able to ‘get close’ to a product. What are the key points depot managers need to remember before creating a point-of-sale display? The most effective PoS includes anything that achieves a perfect balance of impact, fact-based retailer information, value messaging and brand essence. It always helps when in-depot PoS aligns in timing with above-the-line activity outside the depot, such as posters and TV advertising.

How closely does Britvic work with cash & carries and delivered wholesalers?

Over 25% of Britvic’s GB turnover goes via wholesale, so it’s a really important area. Wholesalers offer us a fantastic route to market for the 1.5 million or so small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that buy soft drinks, and that’s why we over-resource for the channel, be that via direct headcount or other forms of investment, such as bespoke packs. We have a team of around 50 who serve wholesalers and support them in winning contract business, as well as in driving pull-through to the independent sector via a significant annual budget to support field sales activity. Around 95% of on-the-go products we sell to cash & carries are price-marked and these require manufacturing, logistical and price-discount funding.

How are you looking to strengthen your partnerships with wholesalers over the next 12 months?

Partnership is probably an overused word in the industry. The reality is that you can’t partner with everyone as time and resource are not conducive to doing so. We’re committed to providing a great service to everyone and we measure this quite fanatically using feedback tools like the Advantage Group Survey and the SWA’s Achievers supplier feedback scoring. We’re really pleased with the progress we’re making and thank the trade for their ongoing candid feedback on what we do well, plus where we could do better. It’s only via this feedback that we can improve.

Purdeys Edge-for-webFinally, can you share any news relating to product launches or promotions in the second half of 2016?

We’re investing more than ever in some of our biggest brands. Every wholesaler, regardless of size or sector, will be able to take advantage of the increased exposure. We will also continue to go above and beyond in terms of creating theatre in depot and promoting our Robinsons and Wimbledon sponsorship, as well as Pepsi’s association with UEFA. Wholesalers can also expect a few surprises that will awaken a few sleeping giants in our portfolio. One that we’re really excited about is Purdey’s, our multivitamin fruit drink. We have just launched a new variant, Purdey’s Edge (rsp £1.49 for a 330ml bottle), which joins the original Rejuvenate variant. Its release follows the recent launch of the brand’s ‘Thrive On’ marketing campaign with actor Idris Elba.

Tel: Britvic Soft Drinks (0845) 758 1781

Published Date: April 19, 2016
Category: Meet the Manufacturer