BEEFED-up buying power, access to better deals, brand recognition – there are plenty of reasons for a retailer to consider joining a symbol or making a change, but with so many options how do you choose?
Whatever else is on offer, the bottom line is the crucial consideration for many retailers, particularly with the prospect of higher wages and more food inflation on the horizon. When choosing a symbol it’s worth considering the cost of goods – how competitively priced is the wholesale service? Does it feature structured pricing based on purchasing volume? If joining a symbol is going to require a refit, will there be financial support? If so, how much?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so the saying goes, and it’s worth considering your obligations under a new symbol. What is the length of the agreement? Should you wish to change again, how would you get out of your agreement? Would you be subject to a minimum spend through the symbol’s wholesale package?
It’s no good having a new sign on the door if the products on shelf don’t match customer expectations.
Flexibility is what gives an independent retailer an edge over the supermarkets, so how much of this will be retained through a symbol group agreement? Is there flexibility to respond to changes in demand? Will you have scope to change your offer to mirror trends and changing shopping habits?
How does the symbol’s range line up with your customers’ needs? What’s their fresh offer like? Chilled? Food to go? Do they have arrangements with a specialist distributor? Is the supply line strong enough to maintain availability?
Customers love a deal and many retailers rely on promotions to keep footfall and basket spend high. Does your prospective symbol partner offer attractive promotions as part of a regular programme? Are they supported by marketing activity?
How well integrated is the symbol group with the latest improvements to EPOS systems? Does the symbol have its own dedicated system, or does it have a recommended provider?
Is the group going to help you keep updated with new technology, mobile apps, in-store beacons, mobile payments and digital loyalty schemes?
What does the symbol’s own-label and value label offer look like? Is the range extensive enough for your needs? Does the symbol offer own label at a quality and price point to match your competition?
Does the deal you’re considering suit the size of your store? Is there room for you to grow? Are there purchasing obligations that could be tough to meet?
What support does the symbol offer? Will you have access to planograms, support in merchandising and other aspects of marketing? If your business runs into difficulties could you expect support from the symbol group?