Diversifying wholesale suppliers: Why independent retailers should do it

Trendy Modern Convenience store stocked by a premium wholesale supplier

Running a convenience store is no easy task and it’s no longer feasible for retailers to work with just one wholesale supplier. To keep customers happy, it’s imperative to regularly review your range, maintain high availability and introduce new and niche products. This is best done by working with multiple specialist wholesale suppliers.

“I want to inspire my customers and set myself apart from other convenience store competitors,” says Richard Inglis, owner of three Welcome stores in Southampton.

Inglis regularly researches new products and connects with wholesale suppliers of different scales – local, national and international. “Our latest supplier offers a range of American drinks that you can’t get anywhere else,” he says. “Any product we stock has to have that unique factor.”

What retailers should look for in a new wholesale supplier

Epicurium- Premium Wholesale Supplier

Working with specialist wholesale suppliers means your range can be kept fresh and exciting. But what should you look for when diversifying your supply chain?

“We’re leaning towards local wholesale suppliers currently. They can give us a bespoke product that helps us stand out from the competition,” says Goran Raven, owner of Raven’s Budgens in Abridge, Essex.

He uses Google to discover new wholesale suppliers and acts on recommendations from fellow retailers.

Meanwhile, Inglis works with wholesale suppliers that offer a strong ethic or something that truly stands out.

At Epicurium, we’re committed to discovering on-trend, healthier products, which means retailers do not have to spend time discovering new lines themselves.

Have an open mind and do your research

“We have an open-minded policy when it comes to new stock,” says Raven. “We don’t get new products in often, but there’ll be times when loads of interesting ones become available.

“It’s part of the process and it’s why having a diverse supply chain is so vital – you need to keep customers interested.”

Both Raven and Inglis use social media to find new wholesale suppliers or the next big product, which ensures their range is always changing.

“Every product you source must be different,” Inglis explains. “You should stock a product for three months and then review it. You must keep your range evolving to stay exciting.”

Inglis also advises retailers to be careful around price – especially in the current climate.

“Customers don’t have bottomless pockets – they’ll pay a premium but be realistic about it. Try to keep things practical,” he says. “If a new product feels too expensive for your store, it will be a risk to tempt your customers to buy it.”

Before any deal is made with a new supplier, make sure you’re asking questions about price, margin, and availability concerns.

Expanding your wholesale supplier chain

Having a diverse wholesale supply chain not only ensures you have an interesting range that will continue to drive footfall and increase overall margin, it also increases customer trust because they know you will have high availability. This is because you aren’t relying on one supplier.

“Think like a customer,” advises Raven. “What would you want to find if you shopped in-store?”

Meanwhile, Inglis suggests finding wholesale suppliers that will help make your store better than anyone else’s. “If nothing changes, your store and range will become boring,” he says. “Your mission should be to make your store more interesting than your competitors.”

Now is the time to broaden your wholesale supplier network

Inglis and Raven have created networks around them that allow their stores to surprise and delight their customers. If you solely rely on your one main wholesaler to provide most of the lines you stock, then you may be missing out on opportunities elsewhere.

Ordering from a premium wholesale supplier

At Epicurium, we pride ourselves on helping stores stand out from the competition by working with upcoming brands that we know will really deliver. register an account and get in touch to find out how we can help you.

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