Cash&Carry originated as a retail format halfway between logistics and the point of sale, and over the last ten years it has been widely used, especially in the HoReCa market. The arrival of COVID-19, the changes in purchasing and consumption habits that gave new boost to proximity sales, the living for the present of the HoReCa sector that had to rethink itself by activating the delivery and takeaway services, has forced retail to reinvent itself, leading even the cash & carries to reconsider their formula.
The Cash&Carry channel, adopted in Italy within family businesses in the retail industry, has given rise to an extremely fragmented set of activities. Suffice to think that out of the 380 points of sale headed by about 100 companies, 130 represent the top 5 companies: METRO, Sogegross, Brendolan, Dimar and Docks.
This extreme fragmentation has led to a disconnection between the two core environments of Cash&Carry, namely the retail business on the one hand and the Cash&Carry store on the other, both in terms of the use of technological infrastructure and in terms of offer, contributing to consolidate the idea that this format is static and unwilling to update itself in terms of innovation.
Within this scenario, COVID-19 acted as a disruptive element, reshuffling the cards and creating a major rift between those who had invested in the expansion of the HoReCa channel and those who had remained into the fold of retail, favouring the latter and creating difficulties to the former which saw a decrease in their turnover of up to 50%. Many HoReCa brands have had to rethink their supply chain, reconsider their offer and formats to cope with the changing scenario and recover the lost market share. They found in Cash&Carry a convenient and near supplier that allowed them to purchase, even on a daily basis, only the foodstuff necessary for the actual consumption of the day. In the light of this new situation, Cash&Carry is playing an important role but will have to open to new technologies to become more flexible and multichannel on the one hand and offer advice to professionals in the away from home sector on the other in order to become a valid and reliable partner.
This format thus has the opportunity to find its own way and get out of the discomfort of always being halfway between logistics and point of sale, to prepare to become a proximity store for HoReCa products, with smaller footprint but with a large area for fresh produce that guarantees a wide choice. A multichannel approach will be essential to allow the customer to overcome time constraints, opening hours and space and ensure delivery, click & collect and self-check out services that favour quick purchases, without taking time away from HoReCa professionals, probably the most valuable resource for them.
But on what must Cash&Carry focus on to regain the interest of the HoReCa sector and recover market share?
- The added value of consultancy to correctly target food cost
- Broad and deep assortments to cope with customer service and positioning, including the use of well-structured marketplaces
- Knowledge of the customer, thanks to the study of purchase data and the acquisition of sell-out data made possible by the supply, for a monthly fee, of SAAS systems functional to the customer’s activities
- An optimal level of service through the provision of features such as automatic restocking of the food storage room, planning sales volumes to avoid running out of stock and the best purchasing conditions given by the planning of future needs
- Business analysis system supported by artificial intelligence, which allows to get further insight into the purchasing behaviour of the individual customer, favouring the development of customized promotions.
- A new relationship with the industry based on the exchange of data aimed at seeking opportunities for qualifying the contractual phase, access to food service products and use of customized promotions closer to customer needs than those used in traditional retail.
ICONIC, the allied platform for the relaunch of the Cash&Carry market
Iconic is the platform of advanced and highly flexible proprietary solutions that adapts and customizes to the specific business needs and includes all applications, proprietary technologies and integrations that we develop to accompany retailers into the future. Thanks to its many modules able to adapt to the needs of the retailer and the customer, the solutions offered allow to manage some functions related to Cash&Carry such as: restocking, CRM management, customers’ data analysis, management system of internal orders, e-commerce and deliveries by HoReCa operators.