Costco's Bev Al Team: A Focus on Simplicity & Doing What's Right 10/11/2018
Annette Alvarez-Peters, Asst. Vice President/GMM, Beverage Alcohol for Costco, along with her team, were recognized as ECRM’s 2018 Merchant Team of the Year in the Wine, Beer & Spirits category for their excellence in sourcing, merchandising, and supplier collaboration.
ECRM discussed these three areas with Alvarez-Peters, 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?
Alvarez-Peters: I am fortunate to work with a great team. As a group, we are guided by Costco's Six Rights of Merchandising to drive our top line sales; and to deliver the best quality and value for our members. Our six rights of merchandise, is simply stated. When we select an item - it needs to be the right merchandise, at the right time, and we must ensure the product is in the right condition, that we have the right quantity and that we position the item in the right place. And it always, always needs to be the right price.
ECRM: What are your team’s strengths, and what characteristics do you attribute to their success in today’s turbulent retail environment?
Alvarez-Peters: We are proud of our Costco culture and the majority of us have worked at Costco for 15+ years. Our strength has always been to do what's right, keep it simple and focus on what we do. If we do all of this, we will be successful.
ECRM: How do you keep tabs on emerging product trends to help in your sourcing efforts?
Alvarez-Peters: We look everywhere to keep our fingers on the pulse of the business. The obvious is on- and off- premise competition. However, the beauty of working at a global company with multi-departments is that we have the ability to evaluate food and non-food trends, along with seeing what is happening around the globe.
ECRM: Can you give us an example or two of some recent successful products you have brought into your category?
Alvarez-Peters: We have the ability to test items in a few locations in one region or multiple locations and regions. We have been successful with various wine items which have great values and nice accolades from major publications. In addition, we do very well with local craft beers and craft distilleries within their home markets.
ECRM: How are you leveraging digital in your merchandising efforts?
Alvarez-Peters: We have launched grocery in digital, but we are still looking at getting into this space for the Beverage Alcohol category in the United States.
ECRM: What is the ideal you try to attain in your relationships with suppliers?
Alvarez-Peters: We want to be tough but fair with all of our suppliers. Long term, we are partners with one another and it must work for both of us.
ECRM: Where do you see your category heading over the next three to five years?
Alvarez-Peters: We will continue to drive sales by finding quality items that are unique and exciting for our members. If we continue to focus on our business, we will do well over the next three to five years...and beyond.