Determination of the interests of customers in the product or service of a company by the company is termed as marketing. The strategy that is used to sell, communicate and develop the company is the key issue that is investigated by a company when it wants to establish strong relationship with its customers. Marketing mix is the blend of selling techniques adopted by a company to promote its commodity or service. This term covers 4Ps namely; Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Product if the offered good/service to consumers, whilst price is the consideration met in acquiring the offered commodity. Place covers the distribution in terms of business location and channels used in product delivery. Promotion covers all the advertising or marketing activities used to inform consumers of the existence of the product offered in the market (Kotler & Armstrong, 2005).
United Natural Foods (i.e. UNFI) has executed the 4Ps strategy to make it triumphant thus far in the global market. It has its headquarters in Connecticut (America) and is the largest whole sale distributor of natural and organic products worldwide. Their products include specialty foods, nutritional supplements, and organic produce and personal care commodities. These products have high standards of quality, assortment, consistency and reliability in supply. These features make retailers and consumers faithful with their purchases. The variety in their produce makes it very versatile as compared to other companies. It has categories for products (e.g. natural, personal care, grocery, pets, vitamins, herbs, health and beauty).This increases its clientele in the international market. Furthermore, UNFI has satisfied the global need of its clientele that is encouraged to live healthy (Richman, 1999). This means consumers are willing to pay for its unique products to ensure their healthy standard of living is maintained.
UNFI has an efficient distribution operation and this has enabled it to present its commodities and services at the right places on time. The divisions involved in this distribution include National Retail Group (NRG), Woodstock Farms Manufacturing, Select Nutrition and Blue Marble Brands. The quality of the product and services provided by UNFI to its customers is fairly equivalent to its prices. Wholesale prices enjoy quantity discount based on “economy of scales law” with no decrease in quality. This makes its success in the market steady (Richman, 1999).
The promotionapproach of UNFI has built its sales promptly and increased customer loyalty over time. These tactics consist of the coupon book(i.e. four colorful Healthy Clippings coupons produced annually with valuable information on living and eating healthy),consumer circulars(i.e. monthly circulars with attractive designs which enhance commodity appearance, consumer education and special discounts every month for many products),the UNFI Customized program for retailers who wish to create colorful ads for their direct customers, and promotional Programs that offer great discounts to retailers who actively participate (Richman, 1999).
UNFI has a commitment and an upbeat concern for environmental issues. It has driven its efforts into sustainable agriculture, land stewardship and a reduction in human ecological footprint. It intends to amalgamate environmental sustainability in its present and upcoming business activities (e.g. solar installation at distribution centers, green assembling projects, energy and water preservation, Green teams, LEED certification and support of the natural product industry).
External environment characteristics: UNFI has faced rivalry from competitors such as Tree of Life Inc in 2002 which took its largest customers, Wild Oats Markets (Marilyn, 2004).Despite this it made a comeback when this consumer returned due to the consistency of UNFI. Another strength that has soared UNFI to success is its investment strategy that has seen it buy distribution chains such as Palm Harbor Natural Foods in 2001and Blooming Prairie Cooperative in 2002. These brief business actions illustrate the positive reaction of UNFI to the external business environment.
The active role that UNFI has played in encouraging its over 140,000 employees to practice environmentally conscious habits is a great step in conservation. The healthy living lifestyle which acts as the backbone of the company has enabled it to grow exponentially in the natural product industry. By making the labor part and parcel of the vision and mission of a company can the benefits of personalizing a workplace be fully experienced by the indirect and direct stakeholders (Goldsmith, 1999).
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