Unitas Wholesale trade show goes virtual

Unitas Managing Director Darren Goldney has revealed the buying group is holding a virtual trade show as the business attempts to build on a positive first financial year.

Members will be able to access deals they would have seen at this week’s planned trade show, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The online contingency is currently live and will be until Friday 20 March, while remote networking options are also being made available for members and suppliers to interact.

“As you will know, due to the developing situation with the coronavirus, we’ve had to take the decision to cancel the Unitas Wholesale Trade Show,” said Goldney.

“However as a contingency, we’ll be running a virtual trade show this week [16-20 March 2020] where members will be able to take advantage of the deals they would have been exposed to at the event.

“We have arranged for members to receive the deals online and for the member/supplier network to have telephone discussions, with an expected 1,000+ conversations taking place so while it may not be the traditional trade show our delegates were expecting, it’s the next best thing and a living example of the efficiency that brings our stakeholders together.”

The innovative plan aims to make up for the disappointment of the trade show’s postponement and comes on the back of an encouraging conclusion to Unitas’s first financial year since forming in November 2018.

A number of areas have recorded growth across the board, with increases noted in member numbers and supplier-partner revenue, while engagement is good for the buying group’s Plan for Profit initiative.

“Our progress is characterised by the growth in independent member wholesaler numbers to 172 and the expansion of our supplier partner network benefiting from a centralised conduit to the independent channel,” Goldney continued.

“Unitas Wholesale has agreed more than 330 supplier agreements designed to facilitate growth, with supplier partners reporting an aggregated 4% revenue increase in 2019 [excluding tobacco].

“Ultimately, while scale and sales moving in a positive direction is hugely encouraging, we are equally excited about the platforms we are building for getting better in the future. Our new world is about getting bigger, primarily through being better.

“We have had a number of first year successes that have occurred outside of the growth figures above, including initiatives such as Picture Portal, the execution platform that have been developed for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer promotions. Our accelerated core range compliance programmes, such as Plan For Profit, have generated more than 90% member compliance, together with approximately 50,000 pieces of point of sale being sited on a quarterly basis.

“The Unitas retail promotional programme now supports circa 4,000 stores across symbol and retail club. Additionally, more than 9,000 independent retailers are engaging with the Plan for Profit digital platform across web and app.”

Unitas doesn’t intend to stop there, though, with a series of new plans on the way for the next 12 months.

Goldney added: “Looking forward, we’re excited to have launched the Unitas Data Service offering insight on more than £1billion worth of sales data, together with completely new concepts such Brand Box, the pilot programme for NPD providing supplier partners with access to 1,000 stores at launch, perfectly executed in store on a ‘no play, no pay basis’ with our retailer partners.”

buying group coronavirus Darren Goldney Plan for Profit trade show Unitas wholesale