31 January 2020
Topics in this article
  • GNFR
  • Retail
  • Strategy & Planning

Whichever end of the spectrum your retail business is at, there will be a lot of big choices ahead. Most retailers will emerge from COVID-19 looking very different from how they entered it. A forensic understanding of your GNFR costs and a plan to reduce and control them could make a critical difference.

What’s more, harnessing the power of your GNFR suppliers can enable innovation and improve the customer experience.

In the battle for retail revenues, GNFR (Goods Not For Resale i.e. any goods or services bought by the retailer but not intended to be sold to customers) is a possible competitive advantage that often gets forgotten. Nonetheless, it’s one that could make a significant contribution to the experience you offer as a retail brand.

How many times have you looked at another business or retailer and thought “that’s clever”? How often have you had something delivered and thought the service was great or the packaging innovative. It is most often suppliers that are making the difference and helping build your customer experience.

Read on to explore:

Why GNFR is integral to the retail customer experience
How GNFR could save you money or add value
10 Examples : How retailers are using GNFR to win

Optimizing your customer experience in
retail through GNFR 

Retail brands cannot afford to ignore the experience they offer customers. That experience is often defined by GNFR suppliers, so procurement decisions have a massive impact, whether it’s the cleanliness and safety of the store or the ability to offer free returns. 

Retailers need to consider how GNFR affects the customer proposition. It’s likely that you have external suppliers involved in many, if not all, of these:

  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Creative and product teams 
  • Store environment and aesthetics
  • Product displays
  • Point of sale
  • Data capture

What does GNFR deliver?

How much is customer
experience worth to retailers?

Well, the GenZennial generation (those born after 1995) will make up 40% of consumers in 2020. As digital natives conscious of sustainability, they are likely to make more of their shopping choices based on these drivers. retailers will need to adapt to survive by satisfying their demands. 

Read about this topic in this article written by one of our own GenZennials – Aligning shared values in retail

If you would like to read more on this subject then our report expands on each of the elements we have explored here:

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Cost savings for retailers from GNFR procurement

Evolving supply markets mean a chance to cut costs, but also to seek and grow new partnerships. The chance to innovate – added to the growing value of customer experience – means that it would be a mistake to not to focus on GNFR and the right suppliers. With average retail margins around 2.5%, many retailers are looking for a reduction in costs. Procurement gives them direct control over the potential to find this, so GNFR is the ideal place to begin. 

GNFR typically represents 15% of revenues – far less than is spent on products for sale. However, it may present a far greater short-term margin opportunity. 

10 Places to begin implementing your improved GNFR strategy

Consumers are making choices about where they shop based on how stores are adopting COVID safety measures – demonstrating an understanding and compliance of the measures by adapting stores appropriately should be front of mind for retailers. Those who put systems in place to ensure customer safety is a priority will thrive and drive footfall – whether it’s implementing efficient movement, organising clear queuing or clearly communicating sanitisation levels and procedures in store, customers need to feel safe coming through your doors.

2. Sustainability

Going green will be a major draw for new generations of consumers.

New Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) legislation will come into effect in 2020, but it’s well worth adopting the mindset that CSR is part of the customer proposition.

Procurement taking ownership of CSR looks to be a coming trend, while major retailers seek out new systems to help them deliver on sustainability. 

3. Attracting customers 

Although retail is in recession and advertising spend is often the first to be reduced, is cutting your marketing spend a false economy? BooHoo triumphed in UK Christmas trading in 2019, with its marketing spend more than twice that of a close competitor. Modern procurement is about smart investments, not just smart savings.

4. Store maintenance 

Are you managing store maintenance as effectively as possible? Do you strike a balance between pro-active and reactive maintenance? Perhaps you use data, but have you ever looked at the gains to be made from bundling/unbundling certain services? It may be that you could gain from reviewing how efficiently your suppliers operate. 

5. Fit out and refurbishment 

The fit out (or refit) stage will necessarily mean a rise in overheads, but choosing well could mean savings in the longer-term. You might be able to shorten the replacement cycle or optimise your energy use – and therefore your sustainability credentials – based on the fittings you select. You could also increase operational efficiencies during this stage, such as planning how to incorporate distribution hubs. 

6. Check out 

Could you offer a swifter, more streamlined, safer payment experience? Improving efficiency here offers a clear boost to customer experience. That may mean cutting queue length or investing in today’s increasingly innovative touchless payment systems.

7. Delivery

How can retailers offer their customers optimum service in the delivery stage? It comes down to addressing pain points, like what to do when no one’s home to accept delivery or even putting groceries away. New partnerships and even smart systems could optimise the last-mile delivery stage.

8. Returns 

The high cost of returns is a pressure worth around £60 billion a year to UK retailers (even before the COVID lockdown). Amending courier agreements could be one way to cut costs. However, there are other measures to improve cost-effectiveness, such as greater use of data to understand customer behaviour and changing pricing/returns strategies. 

9. Bricks and mortar construction 

Revising the way you run store builds and refurbishments could save you time and money. Instead of focusing on price, you could look at market benchmarks and supplier knowledge. Taking a more systematic approach and collaborating more closely with suppliers are two ways you could dramatically increase efficiency and reduce build time.

10. Back office

Back office optimization is always an obvious target for improvement, whether it’s a digital transformation or maintenance. However, attracting and retaining the best talent is another crucial issue and a great example of the power of GNFR: the days of outsourcing as a cost reduction may well be over, while employers are coming to understand the power of creating appealing, comfortable working conditions.

See how we have helped leading retailers with their procurement activities

Case Studies

For more on how Proxima work with retailers download our report:

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