July 30, 2014
Whole Foods Market remains focused on growth and maintaining its position as a leading natural products retailer, management leaders assured investors as they announced third-quarter earnings July 30.
Under the din of analyst angst coming out the second quarter, Whole Foods managed 10 percent sales growth, with 3.9 percent comparable store increases.
But the cacophony of analysis, growing “negative narrative” and continued competitive pressures inspired co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb to highlight “strategic initiatives now underway to build momentum.”
Here are three Whole Foods initiatives to watch for this autumn.
1. National marketing campaign
Whole Foods Market will launch a multiplatform branding campaign to highlight “how we are different and better than many of our competitors,” Mackey said.
“We’re trying to advertise who we are,” he said. “We’re trying in some ways to change what we think is a negative narrative about our company. … We know we have great values and a higher purpose and this campaign is going to let us articulate that in a very, very clear way.”
It’s time for us to define ourselves, Robb said.
2. Home delivery and subscription
Whole Foods will launch home delivery by Sept. 1.
“Through strategic partnerships, we will offer home delivery and customer pickup in 12 to 15 major markets and launch our first online subscription club by calendar year end,” Robb said. “Next year, we expect to offer direct ship in several key categories.”
3. Customer loyalty program
In the coming weeks, Whole Foods Market will introduce an affinity program.
“We don’t want to say too much given we are still in test mode,” Robb said, “but we’ve spent a lot of time creating a unique program that we believe will deepen our connection with existing customers and appeal to new customers as well.”
The affinity program will start with a pilot store and grow to a regional test by this year’s holiday season. Full implementation is expected by Christmas 2015.
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