After a decade of going it alone, Whole Foods Market is returning to cooperator status, a move that will empower its manufacturer supplier partners to provide more sophisticated insight back to the retailer, and help Whole Foods make more informed decisions accounting for broader market dynamics. The move is part of Whole Foods’ strategic nine-point plan to evolve and improve its trajectory, as the natural products industry has also expanded and evolved in many awesome ways the last several years. How did we get here and why is this news?
First, a brief definition: A “retail cooperator” is defined in the syndicated market research industry as a retail chain that agrees to share its POS scan data with a market research reporting agency. That sharing agreement typically permits the agency to incorporate a retailer’s data into an aggregate of other retailer’s data that defines a channel or market (i.e., natural supermarkets, grocery stores, etc.), and license that aggregated data to manufacturers and other suppliers who partner with or support the business in that marketplace. A majority of the time, the sharing agreement also permits the agency to license a retailer’s data as stand-alone information (“key account data”) to allow vendors to measure its performance specifically at that account, as well as collaborate with the retailer on product assortment, introductions, promotions, pricing, merchandising and myriad other initiatives. The benefits to the retailer include receiving its raw POS information back from the agency cleansed, categorized and appended with product attributes (flavor, size, organic, natural positioning, etc.); being able to measure and evaluate its own performance and opportunities against the rest of the marketplace; and of course working with its vendors in close collaboration to optimize its opportunities for success.
About The Author...
Michael Movitz has more than 25 years natural/organic products industry experience across retail, manufacturer, broker and market research organizations...