Monday, August 11, 2008

Flip Flops at the Grocery Store reported today on a company that wants to “be able to tell its customers the stories behind the products, of how they came to be and how sustainable they are.” Another story about Whole Foods? Nope - try Wal-Mart!

Whole Foods is busy trying to overcome its “Whole Paycheck” image. People used to use the nickname after shopping at Whole Foods, as if it were a badge of their own economic status. Now that whole paychecks are going to pay for the mortgage and gas, and with food prices sky high, people are shopping at Whole Foods less often and spending less when they do shop there. Whole Foods’ response? Introduce more lower-priced, store-branded merchandise and do more in-store promotions.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is moving to a more aspirational messaging platform. For years, Wal-Mart has focused on fuel savings, less waste, more efficient packaging and reduced electricity, all in pursuit of cost savings. Turns out that all that resource efficiency is also very green. The article points out that the company is now striving to extend its success with resource efficiency to the products on its shelves. The good folks in Bentonville know that the cost savings across the value chain from greater resource efficiency are substantial. In today’s tough economic environment, the master of EDLP is embracing green-ness as goodness.

However, finding the great deals is what people brag about now. Whole Foods may intentionally or unwittingly be reintroducing Hi-Low pricing and convincing consumers that there are still bargains to be had. What's old is new again, in green cred and in retail strategy!

1 comment:

Carol Phillips said...

Very insightful comments about Wal-Mart's strategy. I am less certain Whole Foods can manage a similar transformation. I shopped at a Whole Foods last night and the savings were hard to spot, but it's still a wonderful experience. Perhaps instead of trying to be something it's not, Whole Foods should find a way to increase market basket of shoppers who split their shopping with, well probably not Wal-Mart, but other grocery stores.