Vendor Resource Portal-Whole Foods

Vendors Already Approved in Whole Foods Market

How LoCo Foods Serves Whole Foods Market

Congratulations on being accepted into the Whole Foods Market! LoCo Food Distribution provides sales support to the Whole Foods Market locations along the front range of Colorado, and distribution services for refrigerated and dry goods to all of the Rocky Mountain Region locations using their distribution center (DDC) in Denver. Once a vendor has gained placement in a store, you will need to schedule at least a total of three demos per month. To support your sales efforts and to help store buyers remember to get their orders in on time, our team does the following:

  1. Calls each of the stores at least once every 2 weeks
  2. Visits each store a minimum of once every 6 weeks (only includes stores along the front range of Colorado)
  3. Reminds store buyers about order minimum of $175 and 2 day order lead-time (Colorado Springs is $200 minimum order and weekly delivery on Thursdays only)
  4. Provides a Demo & Promo calendar for vendors to upload demo and promo dates so our team can support
  5. Provide a Vendor Portal with resources for setting up promos, category review schedules and more www.LoCoFoodDistribution.com/vendorwhatwhat
  6. LoCo Foods maintains scan sheets for each chain store that include a scannable barcode for each approved product. This is intended as a tool to assist buyers in the reorder process and help them meet their minimums. These sheets are provided to each store every time the sheet changes. However, we encourage you to drop one off if you are in the store - they change regularly! Download the latest WH Master Sheet here!

If you would like to expand your products into new store locations, we rely on our vendors to gain initial placement! You are the face of your brand, and buyers would much prefer to speak to you and hear your story directly from you. It may take repeated store visits, and vendor self deliveries - this process is normal, but persistence pays off!

  • Speak Intelligently
    -Do a little secret shopping. See what competing products (if any) are already on the shelf.
    -See what section you would fit into best.
  • Find the Right Manager
    -Call the store and ask for the Appropriate Manager (not the Store Manager).
    -Explain the recent approval onto the vendor list.
    -Schedule an appointment for them to taste the product and see if it is something they’d like to carry. (Doesn’t necessarily need to be an exact time, but does give you an idea of when they’ll be in the store.)
    -Go to break room, demo your product to manager and staff.
  • Close the Deal
    -Review and understand the Vendor Self Delivery Procedure
    -Bring extra cases of product with you.
    -If all goes well, they will get scan gun, scan the bar code and print a PO.
    -Email their PO and your LoCo Self Delivery invoice to LoCo at: orders@locofooddistribution.com.
  • Follow Up
    -Be willing to volunteer a minimum of 2 sampling days per month for the first 2 months to establish the product (Demos to public and/or sampling to staff.)
    -Experienced managers will often know after first meeting but newly hired managers need time. These extra days of sampling may make the difference!
  • Keep LoCo in the Loop - We’re here to help!
  • Chain Vendor Demo Calendar

DEMOs

LoCo Foods and Whole Foods expect continued product support in all stores that order. Demos provide an excellent way to introduce your product to customers, and continue to build a loyal customer base.

Demos are coordinated at the store level, and vendors should contact each store directly. Please be sure to let LoCo Foods know about your demos! Uploading your scheduled demos into the LoCo Vendor Demo calendar allows us to help ensure that sufficient product is in the store to support your demo. In addition, please take a moment to call the store a week prior to your demo to check on inventory!

To schedule a demo in a Whole Foods store, read the instructions below for signing up:

  • Requests must be made online each month using SurveyMonkey links, which can be found on our google share drive (link below).
  • Requests are due by 11:45 PM on the 20th of each month; the online tool will close at this time.
  • All requests are time-stamped, so early requesting will be to your advantage in the future.
  • You will receive confirmation from each of the stores you have requested demos with by the 28th of each month.
  • Marketers or Demo Specialists at each store will be your point of contact throughout the process. A full contact list can be found on the google share drive.
  • Additionally, product team contact information is updated by store for TL, ATL, and Specialist so you can reach them directly for promos, product order reminders, etc.
  • Please do not change demos, you may attempt to email the store marketer or demo specialist directly but they may not have time to respond.
  • Regional demo time slots are: 11 AM – 2 PM and 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM. Vendors can stay an additional 30 minutes at the end of each slot but must be done within 4 hours for food safety.
  • Holiday Blackout Dates: 11/20-11/27 and 12/18-12/25
  • Compostable demo supplies are available for purchase at all stores at our wholesale cost at the register (ex: compostable cups, etc.)
  • All required information is available on the GOOGLE SHARE DRIVE: Click here!

The LoCo Foods Demo Calendar is a new tool that we are offering so we may better support your marketing plan. When your demos and promos are listed in this calendar, it will enable our team to remind grocery buyers about upcoming events so they can stock their shelves with your product. If we don’t know about your demo, we can’t remind the buyers and support your sales! Also, despite reminding buyers to be prepared and maintain inventory, we cannot force buyers to complete orders. It is always a good idea to stop in before the demo to assess on hand inventory.

The email address we have on file for your company has been added to the Demo Calendar access list so that you can add items to the calendar using the format detailed below. You should have already received an invitation from Google to access the calendar. If you have not received the invitation from Google calendars, please request another invitation from Louisa at Info@LoCoFoodDistribution.com.

Adding a DEMO or promo event to the calendar:

  1. Select the date of your demo or promo Double click on the time slot your demo starts
  2. In the pop-up window that opens, please fill in at a minimum the following items.
  3. In the top box (often pre-filled with “Untitled Event”): Name of store, Location, Brand/Vendor, demo. For example: Sprouts, Colfax – Elevation Ketchup demo
  4. Below the Event Title, In the date box – check that the correct date is listed.
  5. In the start time – list the time your demo starts.
  6. In the 3rd box enter the time your demo ends.
  7. In the Description box put the name, email and phone number of the person doing the demo.
  8. Select the color tag according to which chain account it is: Sprouts – Orange/Yellow, Whole Foods – Blue, Vitamin Cottage – Green (just get as close as you can)
  9. Click save
  10. Repeat for each demo you have scheduled.

Product Changes and Line Extentions

The majority of changes to your products require approval by Whole Foods prior to introducing the changes onto the store shelves. Changes that require prior approval include:

  • price changes, up or down
  • UPC changes
  • ingredient changes
  • product certifications (organic, nonGMO, vegan)
  • unit or case size changes
  • ANY others???

You should work directly with both LoCo Foods and the regional grocery manager to discuss these product changes well in advance of attempting to roll the changes out to the shelf! LoCo Food requires a 60 day lead time on these changes to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the changes to be updated in Whole Foods system, as well as make arrangements for remaining stock of original versions of product.

Changes to pricing, unit and case size, and UPC code are submitted to Whole Foods by LoCo Food Distribution. Please allow for 60 days lead time for these changes to take effect. Please work directly with our office on these changes for more information on how to proceed!

Line extensions must be submitted to and approved by the Regional Grocery Manager in the Home Office. Once you receive approval to have the items sold in Whole Foods Market, LoCo Foods will submit all of the necessary paperwork to have the items added in to their inventory and ordering system.

Transferring Distribution to LoCo Foods

Moving from Self-Delivery to LoCo Food Distribution

LoCo Foods is honored to have gained your trust in taking over distribution of your Whole Foods accounts. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the information below, as it details the basics of how a transfer works and our expectations.

The first step is to discuss the transition plan with LoCo Foods, and make sure that you understand how the transfer will work for both you as the vendor and LoCo Foods. LoCo Foods will submit the required paperwork to transfer your products in the Whole Foods system to be registered under LoCo Food Distribution. At the same time, you should notify the Regional Grocery Manager at Whole Foods of your intent to transfer your distribution to LoCo Foods in writing. This can take anywhere from 48 hours to 2 months! Please be prepared for this lead time, and plan accordingly. We strive to maintain clear communication, and will let you know ASAP once we receive a purchase order for your products from Whole Foods. Until we receive a PO and/or confirmation you should continue to deliver all PO's! We do recommend checking in consistently with your regional grocery manager to keep on their radar during this transition period. Persistence is key!

Once we notifying you that your products are approved for distribution from LoCo Foods, please notify buyers at each of your existing account locations of the switch. In order to ease the transition it is suggested that you set up a time to demo your products with your existing accounts, while you work to expand distribution.

Our team is here to help you, and can easily run reports of which stores have ordered, order frequency, and is always happy to answer logistical questions! Give us a call!

Promotions

Whole Foods Rocky Mountain Region asks for a 3 month lead time in establishing promotions and ensuring all paperwork is in place.

To establish a promotion, complete and e-mail the 2016 Promo Form and copy in LoCo Foods so we are aware of your plans. Some tips from Whole Foods in completing the form:

  • There is a minimum 20% discount for TPRs (AKA shelf specials)
  • VIP files must be uploaded with the date ranges set forth on the RM 2016 Promotions Form (make sure to let LoCo know when your promotion is confirmed so we can update the VIP files!)
  • Failure to have the VIP file uploaded within two weeks of the promotion with the proper date ranges will result in cancellation of the promotion
  • Scan Backs (This is the only type of promotion LoCo works with) can be run as ‘A’ period, ‘B’ period, ‘AB’ period, or for ‘FLEX’ events which include 1 day sales and 3 day sales

Whole Foods locations on the Front Range also schedule multiple events on a store by store basis to highlight local vendors. We encourage vendors to check the attached schedule and contact the appropriate individual for additional information, and to participate! (Schedule is a page within the workbook!)

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