Product Categories | 29 Wholesale - Ambient

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Whether it be delivered to your store or you go and pick it up at the Cash & Carry there are significant benefits to developing a good relationship with a quality ambient wholesaler.

Please note that while the margins and volumes involved mean that you can't pay for these goods through your Gainsmore account, this article aims to help you make an informed choice of what will be your principal commercial relationship.

Shopping around for bargains may feel like a productive way to spend the day, but sticking with a single wholesaler should make your life simpler, allowing you to spend more time on getting consumers into your shop. If you haven't any shoppers, even the canniest bargain will simply use up shelf space.

Despite the market continuing to go through consolidation there is still a lot of choice out there, however, when choosing your partner, insist on:

  • Wide enough Range
  • High Availability
  • Strong Promotional Programme
  • Reward for Loyalty
  • Good Advice


Your chosen ambient wholesaler should have a range which covers all the FMCGs you want to sell. You really shouldn't have to go to more than one supplier for everything you want from at least these categories:

  • Baby supplies

  • Biscuits

  • Confectionery

  • Crisps

  • Snacks & Dips

  • Grocery

  • Health & Beauty

  • Household

  • Soft drinks

  • Tobacco (although not all wholesalers do)

  • Smokers Sundries

Within these categories you should be able to chose a budget or premium lines, and ideally have access to an "Own label" offering. Certainly every FMCG line that is advertised on television in your region should be available.

These are the items that a consumer will trust and be prepared to pay your "convenience premium".

High Availability

The importance of high availability is often overlooked. It's all very well having a great margin on a given line, but if it's not in your shop, you can't sell it and you margin is then zero.

As soon as an item is missed by your delivered wholesaler or is not at your preferred C&C you are instantly losing money.  If it's a key line - your top 100 sellers - you will no doubt be heading off on an unplanned journey to plug that hole.

So even if the discounts aren't what you might find elsewhere, a wholesaler who has the ability to show availability in the high 90%s is worth more to you than you might imagine.

Strong Promotional Programme

There is a very good reason that every multiple retailer in the market has a promotional program and it is simply that they work. By giving the consumer the perception of value and the thrill of getting a bargain, you enhance their experience and create loyalty. It's not just about price, but also about making a visit to your store more interesting. You can draw attention to profitable lines and make repeat purchases more likely, growing your average basket spend every time.

For the period of the promotion, you may be reducing the total value sales on those products, but you are unlikely to be troubling the cash margins that you make and you will certainly increase volumes. Increased volumes will lead to better terms from your chosen wholesaler and more respect.

It is also worth keeping abreast of the promotional programmes of a few other potential wholesale partners.

Reward for Loyalty

If you do put your ambient eggs into the one basket it is only fair that you get some benefit because your wholesaler is undoubtedly benefiting from your custom.

If you take a delivery, the more outers in that delivery, the cheaper it is for them for each outer. It's less pronounced at the C&C, but they will undoubtedly be receiving volume discounts from the manufacturers and importers that you are helping them achieve. Whichever way you look at it, you should be getting some of those savings.