I’ve been thinking about Whole Foods while reading Seth Godin’s classic book Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out Of Sync? and can’t help to wonder if they have got it all wrong as a supermarket.
They have some things going for them: One is the location of its markets like New York City where supermarkets are absolutely sparse in Manhattan as well as in other cosmopolitan cities like LA and Miami. Dense populations will bring in customers. Admittedly, when I travel to New York I’d rather pay $1.50 for a yogurt and $4 bucks for orange juice than in the sea of drug stores like Duane Reade, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s. They all treat their employees good providing a discount in their stores.
But with the immense pressure of their competitors offering lower prices like Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s they are missing the mark. They offer good products and location but they may need to improve helping customers. Is must be a challenge to know the names of their customers. If they can’t make a connection, whether on price or value, or brand then they will be gobbled up by a competitor.
Publix is all about focusing on the customer and appreciating them. If not for consistent customer service that is authentic and built on trust then supermarkets who cannot provide that will be done and run over by Amazon and Google who offer speedy food delivery.
As Seth Goding says regarding ideas:”They’ve created ideas that are worth spreading and make it easy to spread them.” Whole Foods had and idea to charge higher prices for quality food, so hence the term “Whole Paycheck”. This an idea not worth spreading.