Peter Wells (pictured), off premise sales director at Halewood Wines & Spirits, advises C&Cs to offer a ‘good, better, best’ licensed range to help their customers.
As the lines between channels continue to blur, we don’t differentiate between cash & carry, delivered wholesale and the convenience sector. The impulse sector accounts for around 40% of Halewood’s business and continues to be the biggest channel. With the growing importance of export and the on-trade within our business, over recent years the share of this sector has adjusted accordingly.
How are you looking to develop your business through the wholesale trade?
Our work within the wholesale trade is to drive excellent retail execution – whether that’s in a convenience store or an on-trade outlet. Pricing has been restructured to reward this, with the best price only available where a
consumer-facing promotion is agreed. This is supported with assets, such as brochures, in-store PoS and digital, to maximise the exposure for our brands when they are promoted.
Which of your brands are most successful in wholesale and which would you like to see better supported?
Lambrini is still our biggest brand in this channel and by refocusing our promotional activity on retail consumers, it is currently in growth within impulse. This month we are launching a limited-edition summer wrap for Lambrini, available as a 1.5-litre PMP.
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer has high brand recognition. Retailers who list it are always pleased with its performance and I will be looking to extend distribution and trial over the next year.
The growth in craft gin continues, and Halewood is strongly positioned to work with wholesalers as our portfolio – which includes traditional juniper-led gins through to more modern styles such as Whitley Neill Quince Gin – caters for a range of price points and diverse consumer preferences.
Providing information and recommendations will help retailers make ranging decisions and give them the ability to talk knowledgeably with their customers. Wholesalers should also encourage their customers to trial a more premium offering in their outlets as consumers are favouring more sophisticated brands and happily offsetting any price premium by adjusting consumption habits.
With so much NPD – such as in gin – being introduced in the licensed drinks market, how should wholesalers select which products to list?
With more than 100 new gin distilleries opening since the beginning of 2015, it is difficult for wholesalers to stock everything. Market data should be used, which suppliers can provide, to educate their choice. Wholesalers should look for a range of products from a number of different suppliers, including local, craft brands and more well-known types, to give a broad offering. They also need to look at the depth of their range – for example, how many London dry gins they stock versus flavoured gins.
How can cash & carries and delivered wholesalers improve their licensed sales?
Simplicity and clarity are key here. Many shop owners may not consume alcohol and so need to be able to shop the alcohol aisles with ease. A clear ‘good, better, best’ range of products and pricing that reflects this is required. There is a move towards showing a high percentage margin on shelf tickets that drives an unrealistically high recommended retail ticket; at this level the product won’t sell in a shop and the retailer won’t re-order, leading to lost sales.
There is also a requirement for any new or promoted products to have more presence on shelf by adding eye-catching PoS or displays; simply changing the colour of a shelf ticket is not going to make customers deviate from their shopping list and doesn’t provide return on investment for a supplier.
Lastly, wholesalers need to have an omni-channel approach. Retailers no longer only buy from cash & carry and pubs from delivered on-trade wholesale. Cash & carries need to ensure they have a strategy for convenience, specialist retailers, on-trade, foodservice and online, to maximise their appeal.
Are there any cash & carries or delivered wholesalers you wish to highlight as being particularly progressive?
At opposite ends of the country, JW Filshill and HT & Co have both embraced this omni-channel approach by diversifying their businesses while maintaining their traditional cash & carry. Being able to take online orders for spirits is appealing to business customers in speciality retail and the on-trade, as well as private consumers.