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UNFI taps into blockchain platform to access retailer’s digital coupon

Distributor United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) Grocery retailers are working to provide shoppers via a partnership with blockchain-based digital couponing platform CoupDog.

CoupDog’s solution integrates a secure, scalable distributed ledger with popular mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, as well as retailer Load2Card platforms. It also fully supports the new 8112 Universal Digital Coupon (UDC) format, which enables shoppers to redeem coupons from mobile phones instead of having to print or cut out paper coupons.

Announcing the partnership yesterday, Providence-based UNFI said CoupDog is giving more than 30,000 retail customers access to an easy-to-use and reliable digital coupon platform that can increase participation in redeeming manufacturer-funded coupons. UNFI notes that by leveraging its supplier network, it can also enhance seller marketing and merchandising, and improve overall deals and offers to consumers.

“Retailers depend on UNFI to help them discover the next step, introduce them to new opportunities to drive growth and efficiencies, and provide insights and expertise that help them succeed in their markets. To this end, we are excited to work with CoupDog to unleash the latest digital technology to redefine grocery retail coupons,” UNFI President Chris Testa said in a statement. “Our focus is on solutions that enable retailers to grow and thrive while improving the customer experience for shoppers.”

Historically, retailers have had to balance the benefits of savings, promotion, and coupon loyalty with concerns about fraud. Toronto-based CoupDoug said its platform addresses this by leveraging blockchain technology, a distributed ledger technology that consists of an expansive list of digital records – called blocks – that cannot be changed and are linked securely. For the consumer, this means a simpler and hassle-free way to discover and redeem digital coupons from national, regional and emerging CPG companies.

According to Testa, “These technologically advanced coupons not only offer more reliable and secure transactions, but are also designed to reduce costs, improve cash flow, increase shopper loyalty, and increase retailer profits.”

CoupDog noted that the digital coupons from its platform integrate seamlessly with retail point of sale, e-commerce, and marketing solutions. The tech company also said it manages the acceptance, validation and redemption of coupons – without the need for additional labor from retailers – and its solution integrates with UNFI’s existing paper clearing service, which speeds up payments for retailers.

“We are very excited to be working with UNFI to enable independent grocery sellers to offer a modern, simple and easy-to-use digital coupon platform,” said Rob Balfour, CEO of CoupDog. “We are proud to provide these retailers with best-in-class promotional tools, allowing them to offer compelling promotions and significant cost savings to their customers.”

The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in North America, UNFI operates 56 distribution centers and supplies more than 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including natural product stores, independent retailers, traditional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and food service providers.

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