Light at the end of the tunnel – Supplier’s Guide Poll

The future is looking bright according to our poll. With the decline in sales sliding to a halt, it seems that the trade is facing a far rosier future. We asked licensees the following questions as part of our annual survey. Here’s what they had to say.

Did your sales grow, stay the same or decline?
Two-thirds of licensees in Scotland have reported a growth in sales over the past 12 months and 22% think their sales stayed the same, according to our Supplier’s Guide poll. We asked licensees whether their sales went up, stayed the same or declined and an impressive 65% believed sales had improved while less than 10% reported a drop in sales for 2013.
The results of the Dram poll back up a report from earlier in the year from Zolfo Cooper which showed spending in Scottish pubs had risen in 2013 from the previous year.

How do you do your ordering?
Sales reps the country over can breathe a sigh of relief as the Dram survey shows 82% of licensees lean towards the more traditional methods of ordering from suppliers. Only 28% of those who took part in the poll said they ordered products online. The personal touch given by a rep or a telesales agent still seems to go a long way for some customers, Jackie Long, manager at Gunners in Dundee is one of those customers. Jackie said, “I like being able to discuss the product. The reps tend to be able to help with any offers. Online might be easier but I prefer the personal touch.”
Similarly, Joanne Mitchell, manager of Riverside in Inverness shuns online ordering, Joanne told Dram, “In a busy environment it’s easier to speak on the phone than to sit down and order online. There’s more of a guarantee that you’re getting the best deals and offers when you speak to someone rather than going through pages upon pages online.”
However, Alan Heirs of the Callandar Arms in Falkirk wasn’t in the norm. Alan is an advocate of online ordering, and deals with one of his suppliers solely online, speaking to Dram, Alan said, “Online ordering is easier. I can put the orders in when it suits me rather than waiting on sales calls at set times. I think I would do it for my other suppliers if it was possible.”

Do you use social media?
The pull of Facebook and Twitter is too much for licensees to resist with 90% of all respondents to the Dram poll using social media in some form to promote their business. Paul Connolly, manager of Candy Bar and Kitchen in Edinburgh, uses three major social networks – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – to promote his business. Paul said, “We feel we are far more in control of our own marketing this way rather than using newspapers and magazines. We’re able to reach our demographic more effectively.”

Did you refurbish last year? Do you plan to do so this year?
Improvements and refurbishments were high on the agenda in 2013 too. 46% of licensees who responded to the Dram survey said their premises had undergone some form of refurbishment or maintenance in the past 12 months with a further 40% planning improvements this year, more than half of whom had also refurbished in some form the year previous. Only 14% of those asked had made no changes in 2013 and had nothing planned for the year ahead.
The news across the board is positive for the licensed trade in Scotland. With the majority reporting an increase in sales. Hopefully the trend will continue and licensees will be celebrating an even better 2014.