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How Whole Foods Engages Sustainable Customers

Bill Roth | Tuesday April 19th, 2011 | 0 Comments

What are your “guests” telling you? That is how Whole Foods approaches the issue of what to stock on their shelves to attract their customers.

[See part one of Tom Wright's interview here]

In this second interview with Tom Wright, founder of Sustainable Bizness Practices he walked me through a Whole Foods store pointing out their best practices.

Maybe the one business principal that most stands out in terms of how Whole Foods approaches sustainability is that they view it as a service! It is a path for building loyalty, gaining competitive advantage and growing their brand equity.

A classic example that I will always remember is Tom showing me how Whole Foods sells rice. Whole Foods has a wall of self-serve rice containers filled with more varietals of rice than I could imagine. Tom explained a new product category term to me called “redundant behavior.” Rice consumers repeatedly buy rice. What these “guests” told Whole Foods is that they were preferred to scoop rice into reusable containers that empowers the consumer to buy exactly the amount they want and transport it in a sustainable manner.

The results?

Customer Wins.
Because of the cost efficiency in this way of buying rice Whole Foods can pass on lower prices.

Whole Foods Wins.
This is a classic example of Whole Foods gaining competitive advantage compared to how other food chains merchandise their rice and how Whole Foods has achieved such a loyal customer following.

Environment Wins.
By eliminating the use of throw-away plastic packaging the waste stream heading toward a landfill is reduced and upstream the emissions tied to creating plastic packaging is reduced.

Learn more about the new packaging trends of Recart Packaging, a pricing path that will win customers while also maintaining profit margins and more by watching this interview of Tom Wright outside of a Whole Foods store on a very rainy day in San Francisco.

Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017 and author of The Secret Green Sauce that profiles best practices of actual companies growing green revenues. Watch other interviews of sustainable leaders at Earth 2017 TV. Earth 2017 TV.


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