Natural products retailer Whole Foods Market has had a busy 18 months after being acquired by e-commerce leader Amazon. Since the deal closed in June 2018, the two companies have worked on updating systems and developing a hybrid merchandising structure that both nurtures emerging brands but also streamlines global efforts.
In this video, recorded at NOSH Live Winter 2019, Whole Foods’ VP of Grocery, Dan Epley, spoke to how the retailer has changed its strategies around category management, pricing, promotions, planograms and merchandising.
“My job often looks like managing a several billion dollar business while also managing a startup, because that’s kind of what it’s like at Whole Foods right now as we build this structure,” Epley said. “We have all these processes that we need to put into place.”
One big change is moving many responsibilities from the company’s regional offices to its Austin headquarters, where the team has grown by hundreds of new employees.
In addition to providing an update on Whole Foods’ grocery team, Epley also shared with brands how the company is prioritizing working with local vendors, what a path to store shelves looks like for emerging companies, and what brands need to think about in order to be successful in the store.
“A lot of brands start by selling themselves, sweat equity. Making a difference out there and selling it,” Epley said. “This is how it starts for a lot of people.”