Like every other industry, food and beverage (F&B) wholesale is being disrupted by evolving consumer demand and a tide of digital transformation happening at a pace few organizations are fully prepared for. Market leaders are responding by launching enterprise marketplaces to expand their assortment and deliver on their buyers’ new expectations. We take a look at how UK wholesaler Turner Price is doing just that.

The evolving food value equation: going beyond price, taste and convenience

Tastes have changed. Where the traditional food value equation once centered around “inexpensive,” “tastes good”, and “easy to buy,” shoppers and diners are now demanding more: “organic and locally grown,” “affordable luxury,” “adventurous global flavors,” and “sophisticated dining experiences.” These new value drivers are spanning everything from health & wellness and food safety to localized sourcing and sustainability. And every customer has a unique set of priorities.

The result? Food and beverage wholesalers are under pressure to do more – offer more products, engage more suppliers, and serve more customers – in order to meet these new market needs.

To balance the requirements of their new customers, while addressing ongoing pressures to remain agile and profitable, innovative leading food and beverage wholesalers are launching enterprise marketplaces of their own. Instead of limiting buyers to only a few choices, these marketplaces are giving customers near-limitless choice.

Turner Price implements an enterprise marketplace to deliver broader assortment & more agility without sacrificing profit

As a leading food and beverage wholesaler serving more than 2,500 high-spend catering customers (niche grocers, catering companies or restaurants) throughout the UK, Turner Price has been on the front lines of evolving customer expectations. Their buyers were seeking a wider assortment that could meet all of their needs – and they wanted it all in one place.

Turner Price was facing its “now or never” moment: they could continue to operate as they always have and attempt to expand their first-party offerings to meet the increasingly diverse and evolving expectations of their buyers, or they could seize the opportunity to increase share of wallet and profitability.

Rather than doubling down on the capital-intensive approach of investing in more vans, warehousing space, and inventory, Turner Price chose innovation, launching Turner Price Marketplace to grow their offering across more categories and suppliers to better meet their customers’ needs. With the marketplace, Turner Price is putting customers first and leading the charge toward a digitally enabled B2B world.

How are they doing it?

  • Test and learn to unlock new opportunities for growth. Food industry trends are constantly evolving, which makes reacting to them all the more challenging. With a marketplace platform, wholesalers are able to create a market research, testing and learning mechanism to identify which trends are lasting and which are fleeting – and all before buying up inventory. By opening up to smaller, niche or localized sellers, this also gives emerging brands a path to reach a wholesaler’s large customer base via an easy platform and, if demand remains high, may lead to its official assortment and distribution.

    In the case of Turner Price, as more restaurants adapted their menus to offer sustainable, locally sourced items, they identified the marketplace as an opportunity to source fresh products locally so their customers could buy everything they wanted – from catering consumables and Teapigs tea to locally-sourced honey – all from a centralized site. They are also leveraging their marketplace as a mechanism to expand into new, higher-margin categories of products and services like appliances, enabling them to meet the needs of their customers and increase their margins without the inventory risk or disruption to their existing supply chain.

“We know our customers well and want to ensure we deliver everything they need from specialty and gourmet food brands to catering equipment and more. With Mirakl, we have been able to quickly expand our assortment across more categories and suppliers to better meet our customers’ needs”.

Julian Owen, Director of Sales Marketing at Turner Price

Julian Owen
  • Address a more diverse set of customer needs – at scale. Independent restaurants and small chains are expected to grow 50% more than large restaurants over the next 5 years. This trend is compelling food and beverage wholesalers of all sizes to identify how best to engage this new, more fragmented customer segment. With their marketplace platform, Turner Price is delivering a more customer-centric buying experience that meets the needs of niche grocers, catering companies or restaurants that need to complete numerous purchases every week– and offering the necessary enterprise-level capabilities to support the centralized procurement departments of larger chains.
  •  Deliver a seamless omnichannel buying experience. B2B buyers are increasingly looking for frictionless and aggregated shopping experiences. To meet these expectations, Turner Price blended their marketplace and first-party product offerings to create a one-stop shop. They are letting their customers buy how, when and what they want while ensuring the process is simple, engaging, efficient. Turner Price, in short, is helping their customers do their jobs faster, easier, and more cost effectively. And customers are taking notice. Within 24 hours of launching their marketplace, Turner Price was already receiving new orders.

By the end of this year, Turner Price aims to have fifty thousand products on their marketplace, and they are looking for sellers to join the marketplace to help them achieve that goal. You can learn more and express interest in becoming a seller on Turner Price Marketplace.

The enterprise marketplace model is changing the paradigm for traditional wholesalers, enabling them to meet every new demand that comes along – quickly and cost efficiently. As the industry continues to evolve, leaders like Turner Price who have invested in marketplace solutions will continue to uncover new ways to optimize their customers’ experiences, partner with new leading brands, and create more business agility – all with the flexibility and scale that the platform model affords.

Angela Troccoli

Written by Angela Troccoli

Senior Director Product Marketing, Global B2B at Mirakl

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