1. What are the chief elements of the strategy that Whole Foods Market is pursuing?
Taking into account the article, several pillars of the strategy can be determined. Several with bigger importance than others, but definitely essential to the success of Whole Foods.
Offer the highest quality least processed, most flavorful and naturally preserved foods available. •
Creation of collective fate among stakeholders.
Open own new stores and acquire small owner managed chains in desirable markets. •
Store footprint between 45,000 and 60,000 square feet. (Sweet spot) •
Stores based in high traffic shopping areas.
Adapted product offerings per store because of different clientele and store size. •
The emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, bakery goods, meats, seafood and other perishables to attract a broader customer base. (Competitive advantage).Differentiate from other supermarkets. •
Selling premium products against premium prices.
Constantly create an inviting and interactive store atmosphere that turns shopping for food into a fun pleasurable experience. •
Create and intensify a sense of community with customers/stakeholders (Take Action Center) •
Personal attention at all departments in the stores.
Empowerment of employees via a variety of offerings
Team based management for store operations.
Donating, not only in a financial way ,to communities.
2. Is the strategy well matched to recent developments and conditions in the natural and organic foods segment of the food retailing industry? One of the major problems with companies selling organic stuff is that everyone claims to sell organic, but that it is never provable. Whole Foods got the luck and anticipation that they were helped by the USDA. In 2002 they officially established labeling standards for organic. This was necessary because between states there was a different organic language. Since Whole foods has stores in multiple states this was a great development. All products could now be labeled to take away any doubt of the customers. I am convinced that this has led to at least a slight rise in sales. Clients who buy organic at premium prices would like to have organic proof. This was a true win-win situation because it turned out to be a great marketing solution.
3. Do you think John Mackey has a good strategic vision for Whole Foods? Why or why not? In first order I would say yes he has it all worked out. Nevertheless, I think that the strategic pillars that would bring them to their vision were based on a healthy economic environment. Please let us not forget that organic products are luxuries rather than necessary food items. We can all live from brown bread and a glass of water. So the clientele with the higher discretionary incomes can afford the products. Now that we encountered the recession most of this clientele is hit. This resulted in declining sales. A standard result since people are then spending more on functional products rather than premium price products. I think that the recession has made him think big-time on what to do with the revenue model. Probably a wise thing to do is to change his marketing mix. There should be more focus on pricing strategy. A new plan could imply the introduction of house brands that equal a price level of the conventional supermarket. This in order to attract more clientele from different social classes. The barrier to buy organic should be lowered so market share can be increased and contribution margin can be improved.
3.1 What do you like/dislike about the company’s motto “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet?” Honestly, every time a company brings out such a wonderful slogan, I find myself quit skeptic. Historically we can come to a conclusion that it is not a true representation of a company’s willingness. However, thankfully there are still ‘’honest’’ companies. A personal study on this food retailer gave a clear image of the value of this slogan. I think that...
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