Wes Woolbright is Director Pricing at Sam’s Club. He has spent over thirty-five years in the industry. Wes gained diverse experience working in stores and back offices spanning the entire West Coast as well as in Texas. His roles in retail encompass a number of titles and domains from pricing implementation to IT and price systems architecture development.
Below are the highlights of our latest encounter with Wes. Let’s get down to it!
No secret that 2020 and 2021 were the period of significant changes and seismic shifts in the industry. What key wins of you and your team make you the proudest?
Here are the three major call-outs I’d like to point out:
- Simply sticking together as a team. With all the turbulence of the last two years, that’s an accomplishment.
- Achieving department/company objectives for price.
- Success translating to promotions for several team members.
Like any other hero, a pricing hero stands against the so-called villains. What are they in grocery pricing for you?
More so than normal, pricing has shared the pain with the buyers. Short supplies create almost rolling assortments for retailers trying to maintain inventory levels sufficient to satisfy shoppers’ elevated demand. As a result, pricing has had to step up to maintain discipline on price and strategy amid these changes.
What are your superpower and tools in this struggle?
I always encourage price professionals to be empiricists. Decisions are grounded in facts, not emotion. Keep the customer at the center and make decisions based on facts, and pricing will be fine.
With the inflation and rising costs taking their toll on the industry, which advice can you give to colleagues in 2022?
Experts smarter than me have explained that the best pricing teams leverage tools to enhance their pricing expertise rather than rely on them to substitute the lack of knowledge. In that regard, it will be more critical to be deeply grounded in understanding customers and fundamental pricing concepts.