NE Business Review

Whole Foods Market
Vendor & Broker Summit
We Sell the Highest Quality Natural and Organic
Products Available
We Satisfy, Delight and Nourish Our Customers
We Support Team Member Happiness and Excellence
We Create Wealth Through Profits & Growth
We Serve and Support Our Local and Global
We Practice and Advance Environmental Stewardship
We Create Ongoing Win-Win Partnerships with Our
We Promote the Health of Our Stakeholders Through
Healthy Eating Education
WFM Core Values
The information presented in this deck is
specifically applicable to Whole Foods Market
Northeast, and not applicable to any other
WFM regions
Conversely, the approach for any other
region of Whole Foods Market will not
necessarily apply in WFM NE
Please reach out to Regional Grocery
Leadership in any WFM region to understand
their policies, processes, & protocols
NE Regional Grocery Coordinator
Kara Rubin oversees all aspects of the Grocery Program for the NE region, including strategic development of
the grocery program, operations, distribution, systems, & merchandising processes.
[email protected]
NE Local Forager
Elly Truesdell manages the onboarding process & relationships with the numerous local brands of the Northeast
Region across all store teams. Elly will be interim Grocery Coordinator when Kara takes maternity leave.
[email protected]
NE Regional Grocery Buyers
John Lawson is responsible for managing the NE product mix, including new item selection process, category
reviews, discos, core lists
[email protected]
Sandy Daus is responsible for promotional strategy, planning, and pricing, as well as many special one-off
programs in stores
[email protected]
NE Regional Grocery Purchasing Assistant
Tim Lapietra assists Kara, Sandy, and John with taming & organizing the endless flow of information from our
vendor partners
[email protected]
NE Regional Associate Coordinators
Dan Morrison works with Space Planning tools to maximize use of shelf space for reset planograms, as well as
new stores, renovations, & remodels
[email protected]
Johan Sanchez & Kelvin Abdulla (with one vacancy remaining to be filled soon) are our operations points - each
of them answer specific store questions, drive reset execution, organize layout, tweak merchandising, and
engage & support both new item as well as promotion execution at store level
[email protected]
[email protected]
WFM NE Regional Grocery Team
WFM Northeast added 3 stores in 2013:
And 2 stores in 2014:
NE Grocery program grew fastest in all WFM
regions, at 14% YOY
NE Grocery increased its share of all WFM
Grocery by 50 bp YOY
NE remains 5th ranked WFM Grocery region in
overall sales
◦ Danbury, CT, in May
◦ Portchester, NY, in October
◦ Brooklyn, NY, in December
◦ Marlboro, NJ, in May
◦ Albany, NY, in June
2014 Recap
Prior Years’ Themes
• 2010-2011 * Newest coolest trendiest items
• 2011-2012 * Brand building with promo focus
• 2012-2013 * Strengthening our foundation
• 2013-2014 * Mission & Innovation
• 2015 is the year of NEW DIRECTIONS, as we (Sandy &
John) have plunged into and continue to acclimate to our
respective programs. We hope to quickly establish baseline
expectations with you, our vendor/broker/distributor
partners, and build out from a well-established core. We
are both building on solid programs and hope to work
closely with you as we take the Northeast Grocery program
in exciting new directions.
Recap of Prior Years…& 2015
New item presentation
Honoring quid pro quo reset agreement
Meetings & Business Reviews
Measuring performance in NE
WFM Standards Review
Innovating together
Proper communication pathways
Policies & procedures
What to expect in 2015?
2015 Topics for Review
NE follows a Category Review Calendar
◦ Category Review refers to the order in which WFM Regional
Grocery Teams systematically review brands’ performance
across their region’s stores
◦ NE will not consider products out of cycle in most cases
◦ Category submissions must follow guidelines in order to be
 Final product samples must be submitted
 Product Powerpoint slide must be correctly filled out and emailed
(Brokers’ exception: meetings)—please NO PDF, PPT only
 Subject line of email MUST include the round # for which
product is submitted
 A completed PIE should be sent to line up with the initial
submission (to John only).
 When final selects are circulated, a revised, edited PIE should be
sent to Tim (cc: John) with just the selected products.
◦ Submissions must arrive by the due date indicated on the
calendar (updated calendar is located on the NE Vendor
Information website:
New Item Presentation
Category Submission (cont.):
◦ Free fill should be noted on the Cat Review Vendor PPT; we
will also require confirmation when round selects are
◦ First promotions should be submitted for the month after a
product launches (e.g. Feb promo for Jan launch)
◦ Any product can be input in VIP—WFM NE only pulls data
for authorized SKUs
◦ Any product can be sent to CEN team for space planning
imaging—WFM NE only pulls data/images for
selected/authorized SKUs
 Failure to submit products properly for space planning may
result in planogram struggles for those items at the reset
◦ If a UPC is set up incorrectly, this requires a free fill for all
planogrammed stores to correct.
New Item Presentation
Delivering samples
◦ Samples can be shipped to the NE office (USPS, Fedex, UPS, etc)
 Sorry, we do not confirm receipt of samples—consider using tracking
◦ Samples can also be dropped off at NE office
 If dropping off samples, please do not ask Reception TM to put it away immediately
◦ If your product is perishable, frozen or refrigerated, please CLEARLY mark the outside
◦ Make sure you add enough coolant (ice packs, dry ice, etc) to maintain temp
 Dry ice is very painful to the touch—please consider that when packing your samples
◦ Please deliver samples Monday – Thursday, Friday delivery may be refused or discarded
◦ Notes on product samples:
 Styrofoam packing peanuts are strongly discouraged
 Please always use only sustainable/recyclable packing material, if using popcorn make sure
it is biodegradable and does not stick to the product.
 Always affix contact info (onto every product sample—name, phone #, email address),
whether that is broker or producer—if you do not sticker an item, how will we know who to
contact if it’s selected??
 We request a max of two item samples per product for review
 Please do not send the same products repeatedly for the same review
 Any submitted product should have a clearly marked code date on the package
 Paperwork included in the submission must also be emailed.
New Item Presentation
What is WFM Northeast looking for?
◦ Differentiation—how does this product enhance & push forward
the category?
◦ Innovation—does this product break new ground? (design,
packaging, usage, etc)
◦ Trendsetting—in what way does this product harness current
&/or up & coming trends?
◦ Sustainability/Mission—what are the product’s attributes?
◦ Exclusivity—where will the product be available outside of WFM,
and when?
◦ Relationship—does the brand have a history of win-win
partnership with WFM NE?
◦ Support:
 Demo—what is the demo strategy (how many, where, and over what
period) for this product?
 Promo—has the brand experimented with discounts & price points, &
also used Portal to triangulate optimal promo retail? Has the brand
budgeted for a targeted promo strategy?
 Marketing—does the brand drive traffic to WFM using social media?
Does the brand have a cohesive Marketing strategy?
New Item Presentation
Same item, new distribution
◦ Official WFM NE position is that distribution is up to the
◦ That said, all distribution changes must be approved by
WFM NE Grocery Team (since we will need to process &
troubleshoot them)
◦ Steps:
WFM NE approval
Current distributor signs off
Transition date is set (always Wednesday)
Paperwork submitted atleast 10 business days in advance
◦ Disco and Transition Template
◦ WFM Regional PIE (macro-enabled xlsm)
◦ Both available on the NE Vendor Information website:
 Brand, broker, &/or new distributor should plan to monitor stores
on first day of transition to ensure the tags have properly flipped
◦ WFM NE reserves the right to require free fill as a cost for
processing a distributor transition
Product Transition Process
Same distribution, new UPC
◦ WFM NE policy requires free fill (to all current planogrammed stores) to
process this transition
◦ Free fill component allows for a hard cutoff on the old UPC, thereby avoiding
residual scan issues
◦ This creates a win-win for WFM and the brand—less data hangover +
reduced customer confusion at the shelf
◦ Steps:
 Brand notifies WFM NE Team about 4 weeks in advance of pending change
 Transition date is set (always Wednesday)
 Brand submits paperwork atleast 10 business days in advance
◦ Free fill authorization
◦ Disco and Transition Template
◦ WFM Regional PIE (macro-enabled xlsm)
◦ Both available on the NE Vendor Information website:
 Grocery teams are notified over regular weekly Update & Conference Call
 Free fill ships for the Monday before the Wednesday transition
 On the Wednesday of the transition, NE will shut down (disco & deauth) the old
UPC and teams will follow direction to loss out & donate remaining inventory,
and replace with new SKU on the shelf
 It is always a best practice for brand &/or broker to monitor stores on first day
of transition to ensure the tags have properly flipped and product has been
properly replaced
Product Transition Process
Same UPC, same distributor, with VIN, size
or other attribute change
◦ There is no free fill requirement for this transition
◦ Steps:
 Brand notifies WFM NE Team about 4 weeks in advance of
pending change
 Transition date is set (always Wednesday)
 Brand submits paperwork atleast 10 business days in
◦ Disco and Transition Template
◦ WFM Regional PIE (macro-enabled xlsm)
◦ Both available on the NE Vendor Information website:
 Grocery teams are notified over regular weekly Update &
Conference Call
 Brand, broker, &/or new distributor should plan to monitor
stores on first day of transition to ensure the tags have
properly flipped
Product Transition Process
Other Transitions
◦ Swapping out SKUs
 Swapouts or “fixing the mix” should be submitted
with the relevant round
 While a brand should not assume neutrality before
sales data is rolled up, a brand should always
submit any needed SKU neutral, one-for-one
exchanges to maintain blocs
 In Cat Review process we will always consider
these swaps if the brand performance justifies
Product Transition Process
Rules for “Quid Pro Quo” Agreement – Distributors, Brands &
When you miss one reset, you must make it up with two
◦ A callout must take place before the reset period has ended
◦ The callout should be an email to WFM NE (To: Johan; CC: John)
◦ WFM NE alone will determine which two resets you’ll be assigned
as makeup
If you do not properly call out for a reset, any next upcoming
meeting will be cancelled. This will be considered a “strike
two”, with third strike initiating next point (below).
 When you miss three resets, even if you have properly called
out, we will cancel all planned meetings for that Fiscal Year.
 When you miss four resets we will pull all promotions for your
brands for one month, in addition to the penalty above.
 Beyond this point, it becomes necessary to reassess your
relationship with WFM NE.
Reset Attendance Policy
Rules for “Quid Pro Quo” Agreement (continued)
 The bottom line is this—WFM NE Team allocates
significant time working with Brands & Brokers
through ongoing and comprehensive communications.
In exchange, we must ask that you & your team
honor your commitments to ours. Please show up for
scheduled resets. This is the WFM WIN-WIN
partnership core value.
 WFM NE has always done our best to honor requests
for resets at specific stores. Due to the complexity of
scheduling dozens of merchandisers across 30 stores,
we cannot guarantee to accommodate such requests
and the responsibility remains on the brand/broker to
ensure staffing for every scheduled reset.
Reset Attendance Policy
Mandatory for all Brand meetings
◦ An up-to-date version of the NE Business Review must be
filled out completely (failure to have this document will
forfeit the meeting)
◦ We always want to look at new item innovations, however
we also require brands to bring homework (Business Review
Focused, concise and “apples to apples” sales data
Category conclusions and trends
Competitive landscape for the brand and its category
REG and SAL pricing analysis
◦ Be granular when reviewing your brand
 If you sell products in multiple segments, break out the sales &
data for each segment
 Address decline or growth in each of those segments separately
(use a separate sales slide for each segment you are reviewing)
◦ Timing is everything! Don’t exceed your allotted meeting
time, or we will have cut you off mid-thought (sorry!)
Business Review Process
How can I measure my success in the Northeast?
◦ WFM NE never offers benchmark targets for success, as
those metrics are constantly changing
◦ Use the Portal! It’s free! You will lose access if you don’t
log in over a month period.
◦ Work with Sandy on a muscular promo calendar
◦ Determine a successful promo retail and drive volume by
hitting that repeatedly
◦ Get into the stores & train your Team Member sales force
◦ Meet your customer/fans, and find new ones, by scheduling
as many demos as you can manage
◦ Remember also when you are looking at sales data to
consider comp store sales vs all store sales—it’s a false
positive if your sales are up based on new stores only
◦ WFM NE cannot accept a regional EDLC or EDLP at this time
Performance Metrics
Other ways to optimize win-win partnership in WFM
◦ Planogram matrix—this can be requested up to once per
month, send a list of UPCs in the proper format (no spaces,
dashes, or check digits) in text format (ie, list in an email)
to John. He will send back a grid of planogrammed stores
by product/SKU.
◦ Vendor portal access—please contact John for setup
information. WFM NE, however, does not offer support for
Portal issues.
◦ Consider hiring a Broker who understands the WFM NE
purchasing process—this is the best way to get your
questions answered, your new items presented, and your
existing auth’d SKUs promoted.
◦ NE Demo program—for information on either Vendor Staffed
Demos or Culinary Live Demos (done by WFM staff for a
fee) please contact [email protected]
Performance Metrics
Non-GMO Project Verified
◦ We’ve committed to labeling all food products in our US
and Canadian stores to indicate whether they contain
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by 2018. Many
are already labeled and many more will be labeled ahead
of this deadline
◦ Non-GMO Project Verified is the only certification for “no
GMO” accepted by WFM (besides organic or biodynamic)
◦ If a package claims no GMOs in any way, and does not
label Project verification specifically, please be able to
address GMO labeling status
◦ 2018 is only three years away, what steps has your
brand/company taken toward compliance?
Standards Review
Other claims
◦ Unverifiable claims (All Natural, Nothing Artificial, etc)
 Any claim(s) that cannot be verified by a third party
 These should be removed from product packaging
◦ Green claims (biodegradable, ecofriendly, or any other
similar callouts)
 FTC Green Guide Compliance details can be found at
◦ Gluten Free
 All Gluten Free items are required to provide third party
certification if selected—preferably before introduction to
our stores
 You can find details on submitting gluten free claims to
our Global Quality Standards Team at the NE Vendor
Information website:
Standards Review
Sustainable/mission-based sourcing
◦ Whole Foods Market strives toward
transparency in all of our products.
◦ To that end, we have both internal product
standards, as well as recognized external ones.
◦ Consider these attributes, and how/where they
are impactful:
Standards Review
Ecoscale Rating System
◦ In 2011, Whole Food Market rolled out Ecoscale
certification for cleaning products
◦ All products sold in our stores must meet basic
ingredient transparency requirements, and
based on that an Ecoscale rating will be applied
to each product (see below)
◦ NE Grocery will be building a regular promotion
program around Ecoscale rated items, please
indicate the Ecoscale rating of your product on
promo submissions
Standards Review
Quality Standards
◦ As defined by WFM:
 We carefully evaluate each and every product we sell
 We feature foods that are free of artificial preservatives,
colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats
 We are passionate about great tasting food and the
pleasure of sharing it with others
 We are committed to foods that are fresh, wholesome and
safe to eat
 We seek out and promote organically grown foods.
 We provide food and nutritional products that support
health and well-being
◦ Acceptable Ingredients:
Standards Review
Ongoing Request for Proposal
◦ Concepts are welcome anytime!
◦ We are open to ideas both within the Grocery
Department footprint, as well as outside of it—store
exterior, cross-merchandising proposal, café placement,
◦ We are always looking to tie new product launches—or
innovative concepts—into new stores
◦ Use the innovation Powerpoint (will be attached on
recap) to submit new concepts
◦ We have included questions on the slide to help guide
your thoughts, please try to sketch the topline of your
concept within the parameters of the PPT.
◦ If we are interested, we will get back to you—please
understand that due to general volume of requests we
cannot reply in every instance
Please ensure your submission form is filled out correctly on the Northeast
Submission Form; i.e., correct UPC in correct format, all data entered into the
correct column, and either an A or B entered for Promo Period.
Incorrect Data will render Promo Submission Void
Indicate Month in subject
Send one month at a time in your email
All promo submissions & queries must be sent to the following email alias:
[email protected]
Items must have at least 15% promo discount (OI, MCB, or scan) in order to be
If you are submitting a promo for items that are distributed via DSD, all DSD
partners must be copied on the promo submission email, and each DSD partner
must have the discount properly loaded in their Vendor Internet Portal (VIP)
promo cost file.
Promo Submissions
Deadlines are firm!! 2015 calendar is
Late submissions will be added as always,
◦ Submissions received after the due date will not be
◦ There will be no volume projections to the
distributor for late submissions
◦ VIP must be loaded properly (no exceptions)
◦ Invoicing must reflect correct discount (no
When there is a line extension:
◦ If the new SKU is being cut in during a given
month, and the rest of the line is already scheduled
to promote during that month, please make sure to
submit a separate promo form for the new item(s)
with specific instructions (including round # rollout)
so we can slot in the new items, line price for the
period, and not have missing sale tags for the given
When there is an entirely new line:
◦ We will not promote the new line until 1 month
after the rollout, since not all stores will show the
product until resets wrap up at the end of the
New Item Promo Submission
Shelf Special (TPR):
15% minimum discount (required always)
Any promotion submitted at a lesser discount will be rejected.
Scanbacks must meet the 15% threshold as well.
OI, MCB, and scanback can be combined to hit the 15%
Off Shelf Display:
Minimum 30% discounting required.
Meeting this discount does not guarantee off shelf placement.
OI, MCB, and scanback can be combined to hit the 30%
Regional offshelf cannot be all scanback
Items merchandised in coolers do qualify as off shelf displays
Discounting & Promotion Tiers
Promo Cost Effective Dates
All WFM NE Promos must be loaded into VIP
30 days in advance of the buy-in date
Buy-in date (in all cases) is 7 days prior to
promo (Wednesday before following
Wednesday) start date.
All UNFI discounting is monthlong
(Wednesday before promo starts through the
last Tuesday of the B cycle in any period)
All other vendor discounting applies one cycle
only (Wednesday before promo starts through
the last Tuesday of the agreed cycle)
Promo Cost Effective Dates
First check to see if the product is scanning at the register
It is scanning at correct sale retail?
Please follow up with the Grocery Team to print a tag
Multiple Team Members have the ability to print tags
Confirm that all shelf locations are tagged
It is not scanning at the correct sale retail?
Please email promo alias ([email protected])
Include details including UPC, store, picture (where
necessary) and SRP for the promotion
Also, where possible please forward the original email with
attachment so we can trace any issues on our side
It’s Wednesday…No sale tag in
◦ 3 Day only sales (Friday through Sunday)
◦ Funded by all scanback discounting, which
protects supplier from distributor &/or store
◦ Scanback applies Thursday through Tuesday
◦ Deep & Fully funded discounting to hit BOGO
Sale Retails
◦ Sales Flyers, Social Media and heightened team
member awareness through emails, conference
calls & recaps
Feature Programs
◦ Will always run monthlong (A&B promo cycles)
◦ Contests require fully funded promotion
◦ The standard prize format for contests requires
vendors to offer
 $25 gift cards to each Team Member on the winning
 For the 3 winning stores
 1 store wins from each of these metrics:
◦ Highest % of subteam sales
◦ Highest % lift over predetermined prior period
◦ Total volume sales
◦ Focus for 2015, is including other subteams and
products for proposed contests.
Feature Programs
Grand Opening Discount
◦ Request a 35% minimum discount for these
◦ The best deals will be accepted for off shelf
◦ Only accepted promotions will be confirmed
New Store Openings &
Store Focus Promotions
Focus on differentiation and mission
Request for proposals will be sent for
specific themes
Discounting is expected to be along the
lines of any off shelf deal
Product is preordered &/or allocated to all
stores as part of the program
Ideas are always welcome for new
opportunities (see Innovation slide)!
Themed Promotions
Hydration Station
◦ Engages our customers to sample beverages that we are promoting in
our stores.
◦ Supply each store with a free case of product for the promotion
Additional Promotion
Grocery Demo Delegates
◦ Grocery Team Members that enjoy educating our customers and team
members about the specific differentiators, and have a strong passion
for food!
◦ The Demo Delegates take part in active demos during each promo
◦ To participate in the Grocery Demo Delegate program, we need:
 Complementary set of products
 Possible incentives for demo team
 Marketing materials on the package (IRC coupon, education piece, etc)
Additional Promotion
Emails eat up a lot of time!
UPC format should always be no dashes, no
spaces, no check digits
Promo alias should always be used for promo
submission as well as promo queries
◦ Any email that is submitting for a category round must
have the Round # in the SUBJECT LINE.
◦ Same goes for promotions—one email per promotional
cycle, and that cycle should be noted in the SUBJECT
LINE as well
◦ Please do not change the subject line in an ongoing
thread (aka email conversation).
◦ Also, please do not start a new email if there is already a
thread in progress. This splits the email conversation.
Store/sales floor relationship
◦ Grocery Team Members can be a brand’s most valuable
◦ Here are some rules & tips for interacting with WFM NE
 Gift policy
◦ Nothing can be given to a TM that exceeds $25 value
◦ Nothing of any kind can be given to a Team Member as a quid pro quo
for brand favoritism
 Support
◦ The best way to develop a productive, lasting relationship at the store
level is to work with the team on their terms
◦ Be willing to lend a helping hand—pitching in is always appreciated
even if it has nothing to do with your brand
◦ Understand the multitudinous tasks required of our TMs daily and
respect when they say no by not becoming pushy
 It is always appreciated when you assist Team Members with
facing shelves, and that’s also a good time to speak with them
(working side by side). Also, please respect that Customers’
assistance takes priority—let TMs help Guests first in all cases
Policies & Procedures
Store/sales floor relationship (cont.)
◦ WFM NE supports our Teams making deals on the
sales floor with brands, merchandisers, &/or
distributors—with some explicit caveats:
 Teams are required to execute the Regional Merch
Planner in full before dealing on sales floor space
 Teams are never allowed to accept free product from
anywhere except the IRMA authorized distributor, and
always with a PO (even for a $0 invoice)
 Regional Grocery reserves the right to direct the team
to move or dismantle a display at any given time,
regardless of the agreement. We will always try to
work out a solution with the team in these cases.
 Teams cannot accept free product for better shelf
placement under any circumstances (see Gift Policy)
Policies & Procedures
Store/sales floor relationship (cont.)
Brands, brokers, & distributors may not, under any
circumstances, alter the shelf as it is set in the store
without explicit approval. If a store is not following
planogram &/or your product has been removed
from the set where it is planogrammed, please
reach out to Regional Grocery. And include a UPC
(as always).
 WFM NE has a clean channel / clean floor policy.
Any proposals for signage in the channels, display
fixtures, or any other peripheral collateral must run
NE Regional Grocery first. If approved, we will
discuss how it rolls out to teams.
Policies & Procedures

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