Royal Buying Group (RBG) was founded in 1995. The group, based in Illinois, is designed to support independent convenience store retailers. RBG negotiates with national vendors to increase members’ buying power and reduce their operating expenses. In addition, this buying group offers such benefits for its members as educational programs and networking events.
This review is part of our directory of buying groups/group purchasing organizations.
Buying Group Name: Royal Buying Group
Industry/Specialty (if applicable): Independent Convenience Store Retailers
Number of members: 6,000+
How does this group work?
Like most group purchasing organizations, RBG negotiates rebates and discounts on behalf of its members. As a member, your convenience store will pay lower prices for its merchandise, saving you money.
What is its focus?
The primary focus of this group is increasing the purchasing power of its members so they can thrive and prosper. Independent convenience stores face different challenges than other business types, and Royal Buying Group helps you face those challenges.
There are some other benefits to joining RBG – you can take advantage of education and exclusive networking events to expand your business connections, and get tips and advice from other members. Additionally, the group offers information about merchandising and fixtures, new products, and display programs. Every member has an account representative who can assist with questions and planning at your store. You’ll also receive a newsletter and Competitive Edge magazine to give you further ideas and information on everything from marketing to maximizing sales.
How does it work in terms of the purchasing process?
As an RBG member, you buy directly from vendors. If you’re using RBG-approved vendors already, you don’t have to do anything differently. Be aware that purchases made from wholesale clubs (like Sam’s Club or Costco) won’t qualify for rebates, so if that’s a big part of your current purchasing, Royal Buying Group might not be the right solution for you.
RBG doesn’t handle distribution – the vendor does that. The only thing RBG does take care of is mailing you a rebate check on a quarterly basis, unless the purchase is tobacco products, in which case you’ll receive monthly rebate checks.
How does the buying group choose vendors?
It’s unclear from RBG’s website how it chooses vendors. There’s a button on the “Vendors” page for vendors interested in participating in the program, although it just takes you to RBG’s “Contact Us” page. That being said, as an RBG member, you’ll be able to choose from dozens of vendors in a wide variety of categories. Many of the vendors are industry leaders, such as ADP, Anheuser-Busch, Dell, Dyson, and Office Max.
How much does it cost to join?
When you join RBG, you don’t pay out of pocket for membership fees. Rather, RBG deducts the fees from your rebates.
There’s a two-tiered pricing system for RBG members, which RBG calls “A locations” and “B locations.” B locations range between 500 and 1,000 square feet. A locations are convenience stores that are larger than 1,000 square feet. Retailers with B locations pay $400 per year, and those in A locations pay $500 per year. There is a 10% administrative fee based on the amount of your quarterly rebates.
A “premier” level membership is also available. Premier members are eligible for special rebates and promotions not available to basic members. Premier membership also includes end of year bonuses, convenience store training CDs, and auto shipment capabilities.
Royal Buying Group Reviews
Unfortunately, there are no testimonials on RBG’s website to indicate member satisfaction. An Internet search for “Royal Buying Group reviews” turned up a Better Business Bureau profile, but the BBB hasn’t rated RBG. Still, as of autumn 2016, there are no complaints lodged with the BBB for Royal Buying Group.
Are you a member of Royal Buying Group or another group purchasing organization? Let us know in the comments!