UNFI, the largest publicly traded wholesale distributor of health and specialty food in the United States and Canada, was seeking a way to leverage the marketplace model to add value to both their customers and their shareholders. Their wholesales customers had expressed a desire for an increased breadth of product offerings, favoring more local connections within their regions and communities.
In April of 2021 UNFI launched the UNFI Community Marketplace, the first-of-its-kind wholesale food industry marketplace in North America.
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.
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.