Today’s post is by Mark Davis; Vice President of Operations and CTO at SafeSourcing.
As we close out this week’s series on Retail Purchasing Cooperatives we want to focus on one last cooperative that can trace its roots back to the early 20th century; Unified Grocers.
Unified Grocers which is now the combination of three successful west coast cooperatives (United Grocers, Certified Grocers and Associated Grocers) is the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery cooperative in the western United States. In an industry where major companies compete fiercely for very small margins, this is a savior for small grocers.
Looking at our final cooperative some of things that Unified Grocers is offering today provide tremendous value to its members.
Store Resources – From schematics & merchandising software and services; to retail pricing consulting; to in-store development, Unified offers a host of valuable services and products to its members. From a technology standpoint Unified Grocer members have access to Interactive Ordering which is a technology that allows instant access to ordering information from a handheld unit right on the floor. Some of Unified’s members may not have even had an opportunity to have this type of technology without their ties to the cooperative.
Consumer events – Unified is a huge supporter of public events including 6 major marathons; an Air Show and Women’s Show and the annual Seattle Seafair bringing hundreds of thousands of consumers to a month long celebration. Through these events the Unified members can get directly involved and benefit from the exposure at a level most members could only dream of on their own.
Professional Services – Being a smaller retailer can make some professional services difficult if not impossible procure. Unified has the capability with its size to offer significant savings on professional services to its members. Logistics, Real Estate and Insurance services are key to the Unified members but on of the key services are the financing services where Grocers Capital, a subsidiary of Unified Grocers has provided over $125 million in financing to its members to help grow.
As we have detailed this week there are many great cooperatives out there helping retailers compete in industries that are getting tougher and tougher and to compete in. Many cooperatives offer tools and services to their members to help leverage the power of the group to procure products and services with some offering specialized benefits and opportunities as we have described over the past week.
For more information on the retail industry’s cooperatives or other ways you can leverage the buying power of a purchasing group, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.
We look forward to your comments.