In 2011 a number of independent specialist wine retailers complained about what they felt was unfair treatment at the hands of suppliers – when wines they believed were destined exclusively for the independent sector ended up on sale, at lower prices, elsewhere. Harpers convened a steering group of members, comprising suppliers and independent merchants, surveyed the sector and developed a set of guidelines to help ensure greater transparency between the two groups.
THE 7 PLEDGES
Suppliers that want to publicly endorse the Harpers’ Merchants Best Practice Guidelines should commit themselves to these principles and conduct a transparent relationship with their customers in the independent sector.
That these suppliers commit to a transparent independent merchant strategy which makes clear which channels of distribution they are trading in. This should be made available on request to individual wine merchants.
Independent merchants can request information from these suppliers on an individual basis about which channel of distribution the wines and spirits they are interested in stocking are distributed in.
Sales representatives of these suppliers must be made aware of their distribution strategy covering independent wine merchants.
These suppliers should, on request from an independent wine merchant, be able to set out how this strategy is managed within their company and understood by their own sales staff.
That training and information is being provided on these suppliers’ distribution management strategy to sales staff.
That these suppliers should inform affected independent merchants if the distribution management strategy for a particular wine or spirit changes.