Company Case Whole Food A Whole-istic Strategy

Whole Foods: A Whole-istic Strategy

It's tough to compete in the grocery business these days. What was once a landscape littered with hundreds of local and regional players has now become an industry dominated by the mega-chains. Grocers Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Safeway have each taken their own approach to expanding as far and wide as possible with one goal: sell massive amounts of groceries to mainstream consumers at the lowest possible prices. Sure, there are still some small, regional grocers. But they exist mostly because some segment of customers wants to support local businesses. It's getting harder and harder for such grocers to stay alive or avoid getting gobbled up by the big dogs on the block.

So how does a smaller chain not only survive but thrive in such a dog-eat-dog environment? Perhaps the worst strategy is trying to out-Wal-Mart Wal-Mart. Instead of competing head-to-head, smart competitors choose their turf carefully. Rather than competing directly with the volume and price leaders, some have succeeded by reducing emphasis on price and focusing instead on providing something that the low-price, high-volume competitors simply can't supply.

The grocer that's doing the best job of this is Whole Foods Market. Growing from a single store in 1980, Whole Foods has gone far beyond the status of "regional player." It now operates more than 270 stores in 36 U.S. states, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Although that's tiny compared to Kroger's 2,500 stores or Wal-Mart's 7,300, Whole Foods is thriving and expanding.

How does Whole Foods do it? Through careful positioning— specifically,~by positioning away from the industry giants. Rather than pursuing mass-market sales volume and razor-thin margins, Whole Foods targets a select group of upscale customers and offers them "organic, natural, and gourmet foods, all swaddled in Earth Day politics." As one analyst puts it, "While other grocers are looking over their shoulder, watching and worrying about Wal-Mart, Whole Foods is going about business as usual. The tofu is still selling; the organic eggs are fresh in the back dairy cooler; and meats are still hormone free." The value package that Whole Foods offers to its unique customers is best summed up in its motto: "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet."

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Crushing Your Goals and Achieving Success

Meeting Realistic Goals Can Be Easy if You Have the Right Understanding of the Process. The Reason So Many People Fail at Meeting Their Goals is Because They Have a Confused Understanding of Realistic Goal Setting and Self-Motivation Methodology.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment