Tag Archives: retailers

Whole Foods: Values Matter


The words “healthy” and “organic” can mean different things depending on the retailer using the words. But to grocery retailer, Whole Foods, the words are part of the values that the company promotes to its consumers. Since its founding in 1980 in Austin, TX, Whole Foods established itself as a source for organic, healthy, ethically-sourced food products. And, for many years, the only place to find these products was at Whole Foods.

A lot has changed in the intervening years and now many grocery stores carry organic, natural, and local food products. Given the rise in competition, and the greater availability of organic foods, Whole Foods has shifted its message to tell a story about the company’s values and operations. The new campaign – “Values Matter” – seeks to link the company to a more ethical stance about food, sourcing, healthy eating, and transparency of actions. How important is it for companies to state their vision and values to stakeholders? And more importantly, will the statements increase consumer confidence and sales?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review Whole Foods in brief. Company Web site: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/
  2. Show the video, “Values Matter”:

http://youtu.be/5DCow4J-pDE What is the key message from the video?

  1. Discuss competition: What are the direct competitors? Indirect competitors?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Whole Foods with a competitive storey. What are the points of difference? What makes Whole Foods different from competition? What can other companies do to compete with Whole Foods?
  3. Discuss the target market for Whole Foods.
  4. Debrief the exercise.

Source: Brandchannel.com

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Segregation in Store Products

The United States has become increasingly diversified with growth in many ethnic market segments, making these no longer “minority” groups, but a substantial percentage of the U.S. population. But why do retail stores still carry many products that are aimed at Caucasian shoppers, and neglect other ethnicities? What are the products that are oriented to Hispanic, Asian, Latino, and African American consumers?

Mass market retail stores have long used a program called “planogramming” – a model that retailers use to determine the types and placement of products on shelves to maximize sales. However, many stores, even those in ethnic communities often relegate ethnic-oriented products to back shelves.

Planogramming uses sophisticated modeling techniques to determine the optimum products and placements. However, merchandise planners must take a long hard look at their consumers and market base in order to get the mix right.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Divide students into groups and have them list products that have distinct ethnic differences in these categories:
    1. Hair care
    2. Makeup
    3. Grooming
    4. Snacks
    5. Beverages
    6. Shaving
    7. Ask students how much diversity in products do they see where they shop? Are the products are for one ethnicity? What about in communities with a diverse shopping mix of consumers and ethnic groups?
    8. Have students now search major retailers’ Web sites. What are their observations relative to this topic? Are these the same comments that students have about the bricks-and-mortar stores?
    9. What could retailers do to improve this situation?
    10. Have students research “planogramming” online to understand it further.
    11. Have students develop a shelving or floor plan to reflect an ethnic market.


Source:   Ad Age Daily, 3/14/12

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