As I said I am really enjoying the changing landscape of our stores and the legal contractual obligations between the different parties currently on the market. But what I am not seeing is our suppliers to this industry upping their game in anyway….and that is a concern and constraint for us moving forward.
Newspapers/ magazines as a category remain behind their potential. Ice creams and coffee offerings remain pitiful. And as for Frozen foods – they are a disgrace even in those stores with major retailer store backing. And fresh foods….we have a long way to go even in those Fresh Stops.
And right now I blame the suppliers in this lack of creativity and growing this segment of the market. Where is the innovation? Our customer base is increasing by the day – and exceeding inflation in sales in our stores – but it is no thanks to our suppliers. It is the convenience of the location of our stores and the reduced time our customers have, that are growing this market, despite the lack of input and support of our suppliers.
As long as our suppliers see this industry as a grudge drop off – there will be no real growth for either party – the supplier or the retailer. And the customer will always be the loser.
I firmly believe that there should be penalties in place against suppliers for each time they either short deliver (very frequent) or deliver incorrect product against an order! (virtually 100% for most suppliers)
There are a number of elements to this stalemate position.
1. The franchisor head offices are far too concerned with rebates based on “fictitious” volumes – with little or no innovation or performance criteria being in place. Imagine how much more they could earn for each short delivery or incorrect delivery….I rest my case! And imagine the true growth if they both got this part right?
2. The retailer has a major problem enforcing correct deliveries – they sit with empty shelves and need them filled regardless of whether they receive their correct order or the right quantities.
3. And the supplier wins regardless. Drop off all excess stock at these small drops – just get them out of the warehouse, even when they know in some cases that they will have to pick up excess stock in a few weeks time. Our customers lose out each and every time.
4. And the customer – there is no guarantee of always finding the right stock at the right time in any of our stores! We are so lucky that they are in a catch twenty two situation! We have them trapped regardless of what we do or how poorly we perform.
So to you our suppliers why are you lagging so far behind the market requirements in this industry? Imagine getting this industry right and how well you could perform and grow! Where are the performance guarantees? The training of staff at store level – just ten years ago it was the competitive edge – now it is virtually non- existent!
And yes I am tired of the standard complaints I receive about the lack of supplier support in this market from retailers in particular. You just have to read the constant complaints we receive through our website in this regard to understand the extent of the problem! Hell it is hard enough to even find you or to place an order!
So to the suppliers to this industry and to the franchisors – work on putting performance criteria in place – just to keep your customers coming back time and again because they can then rest assured it will always be there!
Take care out there
A few examples of correspondence we have received recently:
Subject: Re: Information
I am a staff member at XXXXXX and bought a Bacon & Mozzarella “Fold over” Code 6001001614726 (R23.99) to have it during my lunch. It is the first time a bought it and will definitely never buy it again. I am still looking for the bacon and Mozzarella after I finished it. I had to carry on eating it because it was all I had to eat before I went into a meeting.
I am filing this complaint for the reason not expecting something back but only for you to proceed not selling this to clients.
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: I share your vision
I share your vision on changing the landscape of our convenience stores
I’m always looking for ways to differentiate my site from the rest
It’s a pity I didn’t come across you earlier
My site opened in December 2009 , with the oil company not happy with me for not towing the line with an express site .
I feel I’ve opened myself up to more opportunities by going it alone
In the words of Frank “ I DID IT MY WAY”
Looking forward to implementing any new ideas you might have
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 5:32 AM
Subject: C Stores: whats lacking
This is an enquiry e-mail via http://www.cstores.co.za/ from:
whats lacking in the non branded c-stores are promos and more importantly point of sale to go with it.
1.the printing of posters and or POS for a single site is too costly 2.trying to set up a deal with a know-it-all rep is next to impossible
to put it lighty we are hungry for promo that will benifit the supplier , the consumer and not forgetting us the dealers