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US: United Natural Foods partners with Buyer's Best Friend
Grocery chains can order from direct vendors via iUNFI, as easily as distributed brands, saving buyers time and making it easier to work with specialty, artisan and local brands.
"Consumers want more local and artisan brands, but for grocers and other buyers, it can be difficult to manage dozens, let alone hundreds of direct vendor relationships," said Adam Sah, CEO of Buyer's Best Friend. "We built Buyer's Best Friend to bring new and artisan brands to a wider audience. Partnering with the industry leader is the best way to bring thousands of amazing up-and-coming brands into the hands of millions of consumers."
"Many iUNFI customers have asked for direct vendor support, and we are excited to partner with BBF to bring our customers this value added solution," said John Raiche, Vice President Marketing of UNFI. "This application delivers a high level of productivity for retailer buyers."
For direct vendors, the new platform solves real logistics problems that impact sales and becomes a potential step towards being distributed.
"This is an industry-changing solution that solves real problems for thousands of direct brands. Reordering direct is now part of the same process as distributed, saving reps and brokers across the country from having to constantly check store shelves," said Cory Baehr of CBI Imports in Los Angeles. "I will no longer have to worry about my direct brands falling out of stock."
No new technology or training is needed for either the vendors or buyers. BBF and iUNFI handle all the complexities behind the scenes. Until recently UNFI has only made iUNFI available to select stores. All that will soon change when UNFI begins to sell the iUNFI devices later this summer. For customers with their own iPhones they will be able to simply download the iUNFI app from Apple's App Store for free. Customers will be able to scan product using the iPhone's built-in camera or purchase a scanner that fits on the iPhone from UNFI. For smaller orders customers can just use the touch screen. The BBF solution will be available this Fall.
Onboarding of direct vendors is similar to the process of joining BBF, which is quick, painless and inexpensive. No separate coding is required for the iUNFI scan guns, which immediately understands the direct vendor bar codes. Orders then flow to direct vendors via BBF's patent-pending technology, which makes order processing as easy as reading email.
The partnership also enables buyers to order from the BBF network of over 109,000 SKUs and 1,700 brands, and enables new brands to gain access to BBF's network of 3,000 accounts that order direct.
For more information:
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