This month, we’ve been talking about the importance of being a sustainable business and in particular, how important it is for retailers to consolidate their deliveries.  With the speciality food sector booming and more and more producers entering the market, now more than ever is the time for retailers to consider the sustainability of their business.

 

Based just outside based just outside the village of Chiseldon in Wiltshire, Three Trees Farm Shop and Café has been a Cotswold Fayre customer since 2012 and is stocked with high quality, local products.

 

We caught up with Beth McMurray, the owner of Three Trees Farm Shop, to find out how they have benefited from consolidating deliveries with us.

 

Does ordering through Cotswold Fayre save you time, effort and money as opposed to ordering from lots of different producers?

Absolutely! When we first opened the shop we were pretty clueless and bought direct from a lot of producers.  But this meant we had to do a ridiculous amount of ordering and order a lot of stock to meet the minimum order values. Cotswold Fayre listed a lot of the producers we were using so we started using their service which eradicated the problem completely and we haven’t looked back since!

 

What do you look for in a wholesaler partnership?

Initially, I am looking for the wholesaler to have a great range of products at a good price.  But to develop a good partnership with them, there needs to be a good level of customer service.  At the very least, I need to know that when I order a product I will receive it in a timely manner and in good condition.  If a wholesaler can provide me with high quality personal customer service, they really stand out.  Examples of good customer service include dealing with delivery issues in a timely manner, highlighting new products when they launch and providing special offers. It is important to remember that a partnership is a two-way street, so I try to make sure that I provide feedback when an employee has helped us out and feedback about the products.

 

What makes Cotswold Fayre different from other wholesalers?

Cotswold Fayre always has a great range of products at a good price and makes an effort to find new and upcoming suppliers, meaning its offering always has something fresh and new for my customers.  These are all important factors, but from my experience, what sets Cotswold Fayre apart from other wholesalers, is the level of personal service that they provide to me. I have built up a great relationship with our account manager, Charlotte, who has looked after us since the start and I absolutely trust her judgement of products.  She has taken the time to get to know our business and the customers that we have and will recommend products accordingly which I really value.

 

What do you think the future holds for the fine food industry?

I believe that the challenges created by large multiples will continue.  It is difficult to compete with price and I think that they are beginning to challenge us with quality too. (That is the trouble when supermarkets start courting the brands that kicked off their businesses in independents!)  So we need to focus on our points of difference from multiples.  For us, this is the ability to provide a great level of personalised customer service to our shoppers, and to engage and advise them about the products in our shop.  It’s also vital that we continue to offer different products of a higher quality that are not available in supermarkets.