|Whole Foods Market, Southern Pacific Region
Whole Body Vendor Policies & Guidelines
One of Whole Food’s core values is: Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers
Integrity in All Business Dealings
Our supplier partners are our allies in bringing to market the safest, highest quality products available. We treat them with respect, fairness and integrity at all times and expect the same in return. We also seek supplier partnerships that share our concern for social responsibility and the environment.
Honesty and Communication
We are committed to honesty, timeliness and clarity in communicating with our suppliers and we expect the same in return.
We seek to create transparency from “farm to fork” with respect to production, planning, sourcing, ingredients, product safety and efficacy in order to bring to market the safest, highest quality products available. We work with our supplier partners to manage costs to help ensure the best possible price to our customers.
We partner with our suppliers to educate, inspire and communicate the outstanding quality and benefits of our products to promote a lifestyle of health, balance and well-being.
We foster supplier partnerships that enable us to remain at the forefront of the natural product industry, by creating new, unique and innovative products.
Appointments must be made with the Whole Body Team Member that purchases your line.
Cancellations or proposed changes to appointments need to be requested with as much notice as possible. Please keep in mind that our team members are always busy with many appointments and meetings and that their time is very valuable.
We will do our best to alert you of changes in a timely manner if we cannot meet with you.
Please understand that if you come in and the store is really busy....OUR TOP PRIORITY is always our customers (you might have to wait!).
All reps must sign in and receive a visitors badge at the customer service upon entering the store before any business is conducted.
Please remember that a vendor visit is a great time to:
Do quick trainings about their products (with TL approval and set up ahead of time, of course)
Check for expired products
Clean shelf area and bottles
Replace testers where appropriate
Give some good customer service / talk up your products to customers
Please don’t approach team members about new products, shelf placement, or trainings until given permission by the WB team leader.
Please be professional and courteous. Do not criticize other manufacturer’s products.
Please respect our team member’s judgment about their product mix. Keep your visit low pressure.
Please visit all stores regularly. Preferably store visits should occur every 4 weeks; however we do understand that some lines don’t need service that often. There are some exceptions when we expect visits on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. We will discuss this with the vendors that fall into this category.
When we run promotions with your companies please make an extra effort to support our stores during the promotion period and/or soon after the promotion ends.
Cell phones should be set to vibrate when you are in a store for business. IF you need to answer your phone when you are in a store for business please step outside.
Please wear closed toe shoes so you can go in the back room to check returns.
Sales visits during the holiday season need to be kept to a minimum. Service visits for ordering support, returns, and customer service are certainly welcomed.
CREDITS & RETURNS:
We provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee to our customers. That means that our stores tend to constantly have a lot of customer returns to deal with. Please help us manage these returns by providing quick credits to our stores for any requested returns.
We expect a 2-4 week turn around for credits, this is necessary to keep accounts balanced, especially at the end of a fiscal period or quarter.
Our team members will do their best to get all requests in well before fiscal period or quarter end to allow the vendor enough processing time.
No products should ever leave the store without proper documentation and approval from the buyer, associate team leader, or team leader.
Testers are vital to our business especially in the body care category. Please see providing these to our stores as an investment into our business relationship and a way to grow your company’s sales in our stores.
Testers must be clean and full to be effective. Please review the condition of your company’s testers in our stores during every visit and help clean and replace them as necessary.
Extra testers can also lead to extra sales – WB teams will give them to other team members around the store, put them in the bathrooms, provide them to the cashiers to talk to customers about, etc.
Testers must always be provided free of charge.
IN-STORE EVENTS & DEMOS:
We encourage vendor demos in our stores regularly.
To schedule a demo please work with the WB team leader and the store’s demo supervisor. The WB team leader will let you know who the point person is for their store.
Please support our store’s events and special occasions with samples and in-store support. We will make every effort to give our vendors a minimum of 4 weeks notice for these requests whenever possible.
Please follow the “Demo Criteria” document within your vendor packet and review the “Demo Intro” letter.
ASSISTING WITH ORDERING:
All suggested orders are to be approved by the appropriate team member. No orders are to be placed without approval. Be aware of minimums and pars.
All final orders must be placed by a whole body team member through our DVO ordering system.
Always check back stock with the team member in charge of your line before making any suggested orders.
Notify the team member of special deals or promotional discounts.
Know your companies’ national programs to educate teams so they can support growth goals.
NEW PRODUCT & PRODUCT MIX:
All new products submissions must come to the regional office with the exception of NEW local vendors.
Let us know which of your best sellers we aren’t carrying, and help us to manage your product mix by trading out slow sellers in favor of products with more potential.
Feel free to leave samples of new items that are under review with the regional buyer.
We feel strongly that education is a wonderful tool to increase sales.
Please supply informational materials and full size samples to our team members.
Any trainings at store level needs to be scheduled with the Team Leader. Please do not use an unscheduled visit as an attempt to train team members on the floor.
Important: Know your products and be able to discuss them with our teams and follow through on any questions that you aren’t able to answer during the training.
RESETS, RENOVATIONS & NEW STORES:
Please supply people power for resets, renovations & new stores. We will let you know as soon as possible if one of these events is occurring. We appreciate your flexibility and know that your time is valuable.
Please honor any commitments that you make to attend one of these events.
Please be understanding if we cannot place every item in your line in a new store. We are basing our new store product mix on movement and the size of the store. Please do not discuss your opinion of the product mix or shelf placement with the Team Leader or the Buyers of that store.
Never reset your product in our stores without the approval of the team leader.
Please credit the store for returns of slow moving product that we pull at a reset or renovation.
You must be wearing closed toe shoes and sensible clothing for a construction site, otherwise you will be asked to go home and change.
Providing our team members with samples is one of the best ways to get team member support. If the team members have personal experience using your products they are much more likely to suggest them to customers.
When providing samples please make sure all team members have an opportunity to try something, not just the buyers and team leaders.
Although most everyone loves lots of samples, please keep in mind the following policy, taken directly from our Whole Foods Market General Information Guide:
WFM VENDOR GIFTS POLICY:
When Buyers, Team Leaders, Coordinators, Store/Facility Team Leaders or other Team Members negotiate with vendors, some will offer personal inducements to tempt you to choose their product over another's. To avoid conflicts of interest between what is good for customers and what might be personally advantageous for a Team Member or a particular vendor, we have set the following rules on accepting gifts from vendors:
• Vendors may not pay for dinner for our regional or national/global teams
• Vendors may not sell direct to our Team Members at wholesale
• Team Members are prohibited from accepting gifts or any form of compensation from any WFM vendor except as specifically noted below
• Team Members are prohibited from receiving any samples or gifts at home – all samples and gifts must be sent to their primary work location
• Team Members are prohibited from accepting any loans or services from any WFM vendor who is not otherwise in the business of providing such loans or services, and any such loans or services provided must be provided on fair market value terms
• Team Members are prohibited from buying products directly from any vendor who sells the same product to WFM. Team Members should not solicit donations from vendors on behalf of any organization with which they are personally affiliated
• Items of nominal or promotional value such as T-shirts, hats, desk accessories, gift baskets and flowers, up to a total estimated value of $25. Gift baskets or flowers must be made available for sharing with everyone at the recipient Team Member's location
• Existing Team Members may accept samples of new or reformulated products, and new Team Members may accept examples of existing products (one time only). It is not acceptable for Team Members to receive for their personal use multiple samples of the same product from a vendor
• Store-level Team Members may accept a vendor-paid trip made for the sole purpose of education and training. The vendor may pay for all expenses including airfare, accommodations and meals. There is a one-time limit on vendor-paid trips unless there is a significant change in products, programs or business practices. Global and Regional Team Members may not have expenses for a trip paid by a vendor.
Solicitation of vendors for any gift or money is never allowed. Team Members must report receipt of a vendor gift to their Team Leader. Acceptance of any non-approved vendor gift may result in corrective action up to and including discharge. If someone tries to give you a prohibited gift, you should notify your Team Leader. Please refer to the Conflict of Interest Policy for further information.
We appreciate your support very much. Thank you for your partnership
WFM Southern Pacific Region’s Whole Body Team