A New Era of Shopping Experience Begins
After much initial skepticism, I’m won over to the new 365 by Whole Foods Market concept opening soon. Here is why:
"They will carry one-third of the products that a regular Whole Foods store offers, but customers will be able to find everything on their grocery lists”
Whole Foods already sells competitively priced basic items. If shoppers are diligent, compare prices, and stick to basics, they can already come out of a Whole Foods without spending their “whole paycheck.” The problem is diligent price comparison is exhausting as a shopping experience and one is constantly tempted by specialty items with a hefty price tag. Going over budget on groceries too many times scares away people who would like to buy those basics. Overall those customers have already left Whole Foods.
365 is smart diversification focused on shopping experience. They’ve been trying to PR that they have many items comparably priced to conventional grocery stores for years and while true, it didn’t matter because that wasn’t customer experience. Now they can offer a store-wide budget friendly experience to a big market segment that is both price conscious and prefers natural and clean label alternatives.
With this move, the point of competition moves from the shopping cart to the automatic sliding doors. Customers want to trust they know the experience they will have when they walk into the store. They don't want everything. They want a more controlled shopping experience so they can make one decision (whether to walk into the store) and not a hundred decisions in every aisle.