UNFI Launches Community Marketplace, North America’s First Wholesale Food Industry Marketplace
A New Marketplace is Born
UNFI, the largest publicly traded wholesale distributor of health and specialty food in the United States and Canada, has launched the UNFI Community Marketplace, the first-of-its-kind wholesale food industry marketplace in North America. Coming off of a record second quarter 2021 that saw $6.9 billion in sales, the company is seeking to solidify their online commerce leadership position with the addition of the Community Marketplace, which connects retailers with smaller suppliers who aren’t stocked in UNFI’s own warehouses.
“Momentum continues to build throughout our business. And we are delivering strong results as we execute on our strategies. This quarter’s results are a clear validation of the great work we are doing to increase shareholder value,” remarked CEO Steve Spinner on a March 10th earnings call.
Connecting Wholesale Customers with Smaller Suppliers
This adaptation of the online marketplace model greatly expands the breadth of items available to UNFI’s customers while providing these smaller suppliers with access to a much larger customer base. How it works is that a supplier interested in listing their items can apply via the Community Marketplace web site. Once accepted, their catalog of items is uploaded and made available to the UNFI customer base for purchasing. Any orders are send directly to the supplier for fulfillment. The customers gain additional selection and the suppliers gain additional market without losing control over their fulfillment operations. With this functionality seamlessly integrated into the UNFI Easy Options web site, it’s a true win-win for all involved.
“Access to the largest assortment of available items is an area of increasing importance to our customers, and Community Marketplace delivers on this need while giving brands an easy-to-use platform to gain the speed, scale, and agility to win in today’s marketplace,” said Tom Kraus, vice president of e-commerce at UNFI. “By fully integrating Community Marketplace with our Easy Options website, we now have an industry leading tool for our customers to better connect with suppliers to provide their local communities with the widest variety of on-trend and emerging natural and conventional products.”
Built on Best-of-Breed Technology that Scales
The marketplace functionality utilizes the Mirakl marketplace platform as implemented by McFadyen Digital working closely with teams from UNFI and Mirakl. The best-of-breed technology approach ensures that the Community Marketplace delivers a user experience that customers expect with the scalability that a booming business like UNFI demands. And with Adobe predicting the permanence of pandemic-related online buying shift leading Americans to spend over $1 Trillion online in 2021, the ability to reliably scale will be vitally important.
“Working with innovative brands like UNFI on marketplace initiatives is always exciting. Seeing the ways in which the marketplace model is adapted by industry leaders not only shows the power of platforming a business, but the will of these leaders to drive new ways of delivering improved experiences to their customers. Partnering with Mirakl, a well established leader in the enterprise marketplace technology space, is a freeing experience because of the limitless possibilities of their platform,” remarked Tom McFadyen, President and CEO of McFadyen Digital.
Check it Out and Build a Marketplace of Your Own
The UNFI Community Marketplace is live and open for business. If you’re a retailer or supplier, head on over check it out. If you’re a business seeking to develop and launch your own marketplace, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to assist, or check out our book Marketplace Best Practices to learn more about the marketplace model.