E-Commerce Growth Leads to Innovation
One such example is UNFI’s Community Marketplace. Designed as a business-to-business digital e-commerce solution for emerging brands looking to expand distribution, Community Marketplace modernizes the way brands interact with grocery wholesalers by allowing thousands of emerging products to be ordered and shipped directly to retail customers across the United States.
Annual growth of e-commerce in the United States has been on steady incline for years, but then came 2020. According to Digital Commerce 360 estimates, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up an incredible 44.0% year over year. This marks the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades.
The grocery industry had a front row seat to the e-commerce evolution with millions of families turning to online grocery shopping throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With all this growth comes increased opportunities for brands looking to enter the marketplace and take advantage of the still-evolving landscape.
Traditionally, the process to secure distribution can be slower than some brands hope for, but with this e-commerce revolution, new opportunities exist today that can help brands accelerate their speed to market.
According to UNFI’s vice president of e-commerce, Tom Kraus, Community Marketplace, “allows retail customers to better connect with suppliers and in turn, provide their local communities with the widest variety of on-trend and emerging natural and conventional products.”
Through this innovative virtual marketplace, suppliers gain immediate access to digital infrastructure which allows them to promote and sell their products to a broad customer base.
“Access to the largest assortment of available items is an area of increasing importance to retail 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 Kraus.
Innovative e-commerce solutions, such as Community Marketplace are rewriting the rules for today’s traditional grocery operations. Gone are the days of waiting for a new product to be available in a distribution center, ready to be shipped to their store. Now, grocers have the power at their fingertips to take action on customer demands for the latest item, and brands can drive incremental volume at a speed they can control.