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Supplier Advisory Board Members Meet in Hershey, Pa.

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Rite Aid’s category management team and supplier partners gathered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 7, 2017 for the bi-annual Supplier Advisory Board (SAB) meeting.

Nate Newcomer, Rite Aid vice president of category management support/front-end analysis/pricing, welcomed supplier partners and outlined the day’s objectives before introducing Ted Williams, Rite Aid vice president of general merchandise, seasonal and garden, to provide an update from the committee focused on “Driving Greater Success from Plenti.”

After summarizing the committee’s objectives and challenges, Ted discussed Plenti from the customer’s perspective by presenting success stories, and describing continuing areas of confusion for the customer. The committee then divided into two focus groups.

One group discussed how to increase engagement and education with suppliers. Amelia Phillips of 3M presented their idea around growing awareness through the quarterly On-Boarding Day for new representatives. The focus will provide examples and ideas on how to improve offers through Plenti points.

The second group concentrated on measuring the effectiveness of Plenti and identifying the best tactics to reach customers. Rite Aid Category Manager Diane Ober, along with Rebecca Osmer from Dowell Group, presented their idea for a “Post Plenti Promotion” evaluation report. The report will contain details about the offer, sales/unit/margin lift and permit comparison with prior Plenti and non-Plenti promotions. The group will spend the next six months developing the report for production.

Next, Rite Aid Group Vice President of Health and Beauty Bill Bergin provided an update on “Winning with Millennials.” Bill jumped into describing the millennial shopper and their growing importance to Rite Aid. He also touched on the top and bottom categories that are indexed with millennials and which stores to target.

This group employed a two-pronged approach by focusing on millennials in the digital world and in brick and mortar stores. Doug Rhoads of Daymon Worldwide presented ideas on how Rite Aid can win in the digital space, with special emphasis on how millennials interact with mobile devices and social media and how they connect to a cause.

The final presentation, delivered by Bill Renz, Rite Aid group vice president of consumables and photo, wrapped up the meeting with a look into “Best in Class New Item Launch.” After analyzing data from previous item launches, the committee found that although Rite Aid already has a solid foundation for launching new items, the process could be even more effective with improvements in execution, marketing and reporting by:

  • Refining store communication by explaining why the new item is important and how it will impact the store.
  • Improving “speed to stores” and ensuring the product made it to the shelf by using real-time reporting and checklists.
  • Developing a consistent approach for launching items based on the size of the launch.

The group will create a New Item Launch Playbook and plans to test the process over several upcoming launches.

All three committees will continue working on their next steps and will present their learnings at the next SAB meeting in Las Vegas on March 27, 2018.