Meijer: Putting the Customer First in Every Decision  11/21/2017

Meijer’s Lynette Ackley, VP of Health, Beauty, Baby Consumables, Card & Party, and her staff were recognized as ECRM’s 2017 Merchant Team of the Year for the health care category for their excellence in sourcing, merchandising, and supplier collaboration.

ECRM discussed these three areas with Ackley, to highlight the strategies and successes that earned her and her team the award.

ECRM: What is your leadership philosophy to encourage your team to be their best?
Lynette Ackley: My philosophy is to set a clear strategy for our area but then trust the teams to have the autonomy to take risks and make their own decisions on how to run their business.

ECRM: What are your team’s strengths and what characteristics do you attribute to their success in today’s turbulent retail environment?
The team’s strength is that we share a common goal of putting the customer first in every decision. If we focus on knowing our customer better than anyone else, we will make decisions grounded in those insights and that will ultimately lead to positive financial results.

ECRM: How do you keep tabs on emerging product trends to help in your sourcing efforts?
Ackley: As a team, we attend different industry conferences and shows but also regularly reference digital content as well as utilize vendor partner resources focused on emerging trends.

ECRM: Can you give us an example or two of some recent successful products you have brought into your category?
Ackley: Rather than call out a specific item, I would say that Meijer has always focused on winning with new innovation, being first to market and partnering with our vendors on long term, comprehensive launch plans to deliver more than our fair share of new item launches.

ECRM: How are you leveraging digital in your merchandising efforts?
Ackley: Digital has a key role in our merchandising and marketing efforts. Through both our Meijer Curbside click and collect program in select stores as well as our partnership with Shipt home delivery, our goal is to offer our customers more ways to interact with Meijer based on what manner is most convenient for them.

ECRM: What is the ideal you try to attain in your relationships with suppliers?
Ackley: Partnership is the key goal meaning a shared goal of focusing on the customer and then letting those customer insights drive our mutual financial goals. Open communication and collaboration is also vital to a strong partnership.

ECRM: Where do you see your category heading over the next three to five years?
Ackley: It is an exciting time to be in the health and wellness industry as new product trends and brands continue to emerge as well as the growth of digital commerce and content leading customers to become more interested in learning about living healthier lives. These positive trends should continue to fuel positive category growth.

Wayne Bennett

Senior Vice President, Retail

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