Safety in numbers is the well-known hypothesis that, by being part of a large group, an individual can reduce their risks and is, therefore, more likely to succeed. In the same way, buying groups typically form to provide smaller independent companies greater buying power by consolidating their purchases. While this structure can be hugely beneficial, we’ve found that it usually adds complexity to the process of managing retrospective rebates.
Due to the number of members changing and volatility of small business, there can be a great variance in the purchase volume from time to time. This means that the buying group as a whole can often struggle to commit to consistent large purchasing volumes which reduces buying group negotiating power and will lead to suppliers offering lower discounts.
Rebates often enter the conversation as a mutually beneficial method, offering tiered discounts based on actual purchases. Whilst rebates are the best solution for this problem in the eyes of the buying group, supplier and buying group members, they create new challenges for all involved. This can lead to large amounts of time and energy — that could be better utilised elsewhere — being unnecessarily wasted.
Let’s dive in to the 5 rebate challenges that are faced by both buying groups and their members: