Eureka!, we thought. We had a great idea on our hands: a brand new way for the industry to access key information at its fingertips. We brainstormed, interviewed vendors (and more vendors), hammered out the fine details and away we went into the brave new world of product development. Now, over a year later, we are pleased to bring you:
The WholeFoods Source Book Online
Our new online directory (replacing our former one) is truly innovative, and we’re really proud of it. First off, it brings two of our most popular print issues—the May Source Book Directory and the November Who’s Who issue—to a whole new level. This site is a companion to our print directories, which you’ll still receive. Online (http://directory.wholefoodsmagazine.com), retailers and manufacturers looking for supplies can find up-to-date information about thousands of companies through simple, but comprehensive, searches.
Better yet, finished product makers, raw material suppliers, associations, consultants, brokers and others can access the password-protected microsite we’ve set up for them to update and expand their listings at any time. Like no other resource we’ve seen in this industry, the sky is literally the limit with listings.
We’ve preloaded the site with contact info, names of key personnel and product information. But, companies can enhance listings with galleries of photos, white papers, sell sheets, blog links, social media info, videos, where to buy details….you name it. And yes, the process is easy as (gluten-free, all-natural) pie.
So, think about it. One site; tons of info from thousands of industry firms; a huge timesaver for you.
Three Myths of Product Development
Whew! Pulling all that together was no small endeavor, and it gave us a brand new appreciation for all of you who regularly put out private labels in your stores, or new products and ingredients that are ready for sale. Our experience has also given us insight into three misconceptions of product development.
1. Too many cooks ruin the soup. In an effort to make your lives easy as you add, edit or view information, we clicked our fingers raw going through every corner of the site. Everyone from our interns, to our circulation department, to our founder and president got the chance to experience The WholeFoods Source Book Online with fresh eyes and provide feedback. This insight was invaluable to our product development team. If you don’t already do so, go ahead and test, test, test products with your whole team—not just decision makers.
2. Get it right the first time. Wouldn’t it be great if new products made it to market with no need for adjustments for years thereafter? Nope, it’s not going to happen. Maybe it’s in our nature here at WholeFoods, with editors on hand, but we know the combined process of development and revision is key to a product’s success. Literally, 40+ pages of our revisions have already been implemented on The WholeFoods Source Book Online. And now, we’re eager for you to try it out and give us your feedback (e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. The end is near. Just as no story we write is ever truly finished, our site will continuously evolve. We’ve got some ideas cooking for it that we’ll roll out in the future, and we want The WholeFoods Source Book Online to take on a life of its own with your participation.
Brokers, associations, suppliers, distributors, certifiers, publishers, consultants and manufacturers: come online and see how far you can go with your microsite. And, retailers: join us online and get the info you need. Happy searching!
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, February 2013