Customers Loyal to Whole Foods
By David Dorf-Oracle on Aug 26, 2009
While many grocers continue to struggle in this down economy, Whole Foods seems to be thriving. Its stock is up 200% in 2009, which places it among the top performers of the S&P500. Their success has been attributed to prime locations, customer service, and strong leadership. (Note that their stock was way down in 2008.)
Today they open their Columbus Avenue location in New York City, which is their 276th location. See the CNBC video below for more information:
The stores that I've been to are much more than supermarkets. They represent a "food experience" that feels more like a cross between restaurant, cooking school, farmer's market, and grocery store. Their customer service is impeccable, much of the food is local, and their value brand is reasonably priced.
Their co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, gives the chain its personality, which is both customer-centric and controversial. Mr. Mackey has focused on building a sustainable business, is a vegan that's concerned with animal rights, is against unions, and most recently has entered the health-care debate.
Soren Gordhamer over at Mashable just reported on his visit to Whole Foods headquarters in Austin, TX where he investigated their social media efforts. In his article he lists these five lessons learned from Whole Foods:
1. Make Content Increasingly Relevant
2. Go Where Your Customers Are
3. Loosen Control from the Top
4. Decide What Channel to Use for What Purpose
5. Let the Conversation Happen
Its impressive to see the loyal following of Whole Foods, and I'm sure their success will continue.