Whole Foods is testing a new c-store concept. But Whole Foods Daily Shop, nestled alongside one of the grocer’s New York City supermarkets, is stocked with more than your average c-store fare. The c-store promises to have big implications for the future of Whole Foods and food retail at large.
Here are 5 big insights for grocers looking to make their stores more convenient and capture shoppers’ “quick stop” dollars.
1) Know What Shopping in Your Store is Like & Act Accordingly
From the perspective of their shoppers, this move was genius. Whole Foods has amazing food, but like most grocers, their stores are not geared towards those attempting attempting to grab a quick, fresh lunch in time to make it back to the office for a 1PM meeting. Despite their line management system, the shopping experience at this particular Whole Foods was previously time-consuming, chaotic, and competitive.
Whole Foods Daily Shop offers an antidote to shoppers’ frustration. The layout is easily navigable, and you can check yourself out or interface with an associate. Shoppers can easily grab-and-go from an impressive selection of produce, sushi, hot prepared meals, and more.
Sure, Whole Foods could have opened a new location with a smaller footprint anywhere in Manhattan. But instead, they’re using real estate already in their portfolio and making it useful for both “big shop” customers and those seeking to get in and out as quickly as possible.
2) Narrow Your Made-to-Order Menu
It’s the age of in-store dining for grocers. But you don’t need to house a full-scale bistro to be desirable to shoppers. Instead, do one (or maybe two) things and do them really well.
Whole Foods Daily Shop subscribes to this school of thought. The grocer picked a “thing”, in this case Açaí Bowls, and delivered. Shoppers can quickly pay for the bowls at the nearby Coffee Bar and head to the self-serve açaí smoothie dispenser. From there, pile on as many of the range of toppings as you like (“toppings may not be organic,” warns a sign) and enjoy!
If açaí bowls aren’t your jam, there’s a fresh coffee, juice, and kombucha bar as well as a case packed with mochi ice cream and fresh macarons.
So Whole Foods isn’t re-inventing the convenience wheel here—sweet treats and energizing beverages are as important here as at any other c-store. And their made-to-order menu isn’t much to manage in terms of operational demand. Meanwhile, they get points for customization. The fact that there’s even a small area for in-store dining earns Whole Foods Daily Shop extra points.
3) Think Local
Convenience stores have long been deeply entrenched in their communities. C-stores are known for giving back and offering job opportunities to locals. Meanwhile, shoppers desire unique opportunities for deeper connections with your brand.
Whole Foods Daily Shop doesn’t snooze on emphasizing the local. Throughout the store, the grocer touts home-grown highlights within their assortment, from Brooklyn-bred granola to Jersey-grown fair trade chocolate-infused quinoa.
This serves to personalize the shopping experience, giving customers an option to support local suppliers and instilling how deeply entrenched Whole Foods is in their local communities.
4) Love Your Loyalists
Whole Foods goes big for insiders. The retailer has no qualms about showing exactly how much better a deal Prime members get than their Prime-less counterparts. And that’s as true in Whole Foods Daily Shop as it is in their larger scale supermarkets.
Sure, there’s a fancy app for prime members to reap savings. At the same time, Whole Foods capitalizes on conventional in-store signage that’s straightforward and highly effective in communicating how much it pays to Prime.
Who wouldn’t want to be a loyalist with deals like these?
5) Offer the Basics and Health-Conscious Alternatives
Even Whole Foods shoppers don’t want to keep it healthy 100% of the time. The Daily Shop offers the good old basics (DeCecco pasta, anyone?) as well as new-age alternatives like Banza chickpea pasta.
Whole Foods Daily Shop even sells oven-baked, antibiotic-free pork rings (appropriately signed “Gluten Free”), which seems like a tongue-in-cheek nod to its traditional convenience store forebears. There are signs for sugary drinks just feet away from aluminum-free natural deodorant. The Daily Shop makes a wide assortment work, even with considerably less floor space than a conventional Whole Foods.
This ethos permeates more than Whole Foods Daily Shop’s product assortment. If your hands are dirty, a sleek dispenser near the entrance entices, “Paraben-Free Wipes Available Here.” The plasticware is not only “made with love,” but also composed of 100% recycled #5 plastic.
Whole Foods as a brand lends itself to wowing in this arena. But, this is something any grocery chain should be able to emulate, assuming they’ve got the requisite floor space and insights on what their shoppers want deep down. For Whole Foods, the secret recipe to winning in convenience involves a careful balance of brand consistency, customer appreciation, innovative assortment, and ease of experience.