Pricecheck began working with the Department for International Trade (DIT) in 2012 to create a strategic approach to export. In the last five years the company has more than doubled its turnover with latest figures in excess of £95 million and export accounting for nearly half. Now operating in more than 80 markets worldwide, Business Development Manager, Rebecca Walker, explains how export is continuing to benefit the business.
Pricecheck is a multi award-winning, family run, wholesale distributor of fast-moving consumer goods. Traditionally the company focused on health and beauty but after a recent expansion, Pricecheck now operates in the grocery, confectionery, soft drinks, alcohol and pet care markets too.
In 2013, working with DIT to create a strategic approach to exporting, Pricecheck commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) research report on Spain which helped the company break into the market. Six years later, Spain is a £2 million territory, “We’re still opening accounts that have come from the OMIS that we did with DIT back in 2013”, says Rebecca. Similarly in Poland, OMIS and market visit support has helped Pricecheck to grow its business by nearly 40% to a current level of £1 million.
In 2015, DIT supported Pricecheck to apply and win the Queens Award, the highest official UK recognition of outstanding achievement. Since receiving the award, Pricecheck has seen an increase in inbound enquiries and the recognition has helped to secure household name brands. This encouraged a step change in the culture at Pricecheck. The company determined that if used efficiently publicity could open many doors for the business and recruited a team to work on a marketing strategy. Rebecca explains, “All the things that we shied away from in the past, we are now incredibly proud of. We want to celebrate the relationships that we have built with brands”. Now present on various social media platforms and having launched a B2B e-Commerce website, the company plans to utilise the ongoing support of DIT and the language capabilities within the business to proactively market its offering internationally.
Traditionally Pricecheck has bought excess and residual stock from brand owners and manufacturers to sell it to the discount sector. The company has since expanded the team and increased its technological capabilities to be able to partner with brand owners who don’t have an overseas sales force. This can support distribution and help brands become established in over 80 countries worldwide. Such an approach to exporting has not only made Pricecheck more profitable, but enabled the company to grow its workforce year on year.
With the ethos that ‘people buy from people’, Pricecheck believe market visits to be fundamental to its overseas success, recently securing its first order from South Africa because of a market visit undertaken in 2019. Where possible, market visits are coordinated around trade shows, which Pricecheck uses to help increase its customer and supplier base. Rebecca says, “We visit in the first instance to get a feel for a show, but we now exhibit at them as a lot of new business relationships can be forged at these types of events.”
Rebecca goes on to expain how export brings opportunities for skills development and progression which supports the company’s staff retention, “People thrive on the challenges that international trade brings.” Pricecheck’s team has attended numerous DIT events over the years and despite their export success, continue to attend them today. Rebecca explains, “We encourage continual learning throughout the business because you can always improve, and the workshops always provide something of value. The minute that you stop learning is the minute that you fall behind.” The growth in the team has allowed the business development side of the company to focus on researching new markets and territories, “Working with DIT has given us the confidence to conduct our own desk research into which markets should be targeted next”, Rebecca adds.
This year, Pricecheck was appointed as a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion, to inspire and educate others on how to use export as a means of growth, “Being an Export Champion is something we can be really proud of and gives us a real sense of achievement in terms of where we have taken our export sales.” Advocating research and allocation of resources is essential to progressing overseas sales, Rebecca’s key piece of advice for exporting is to “take onboard the information from DIT, incorporate it into your own ways of working, then work hard to make it a success – the benefits are really rewarding.”
With a team of more than 200 people, Pricecheck’s turnover for 2020 is in excess of £95 Million with £42 Million derived from overseas sales, “There is only so much you can do domestically. There is no way we would get that turnover figure if we didn’t export.” Most recently, Pricecheck has worked through the challenges presented by Covid-19 to help its customers source and supply essential products to the end consumer. With ambitious growth plans to achieve a £200 million turnover by 2025, Pricecheck has leased an additional warehouse and invested in a warehouse management system, “We have a strategic plan to realise these targets, and with continued investment in resources and the support of DIT, we are well on our way to achieving them.”
To find out more about how DIT can support your business growth, get in touch.
Enterprise Growth Solutions Ltd (EGSL) deliver the contract for the Department for International Trade in Yorkshire and the Humber.