In 1997 John Mackey the “Cowboy of doing things” developed the slogan “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole planet”. This slogan is a symbol used to explain the purpose and future of the Whole Foods Market. This slogan made for seven core values that resonates throughout the company. These values go above making money and making a world a better place, but also include long term education and empowerment. The values distribute power and promote a long term growth model that is a chief element to their strategy. In 1991 after the company went public they began to add growth as a key strategy element.
They added new stores of their own as well as started purchasing smaller companies to help take large areas. The next major strategy was their location strategy. They liked to place their stores in educated areas as well as areas that have high frequency. They had steady growth in stores numbers except for in 2009 where they closed one location. They have tried to keep the store numbers low focusing on increasing functionality of smaller spaces to save money. This strategy worked great and led into their product line very well. Product line is another key strategy for Whole foods.
They focus on offering the highest quality goods that the industry has to offer. While doing this they have moved into a niche market in which they sell organic and natural foods. But all of these elements boiled down into the initial internal strategy of the business. As mentioned before the company has a deep-seated philosophy in bettering and empowering people for a better future. In all these are their four main strategy points. 2. Is Whole Foods’ strategy well matched to market conditions in the food retailing industry (one of the criteria for a winning strategy discussed in Chapter 1)?
As discussed earlier Whole Foods Market has an excellent ethical philosophy that has given them a distinct advantage over other stores. In terms of how well they are matched it is also quite apparent to see that they fit a niche very well. Natural and organic food numbers have seen double digit growth in the past few years and consumers preferences are beginning to shift. Many consumers are starting to worry about the purity of their food along with their worry for safe food that does not use chemicals or modifications. This organic and natural approach does have a drawback however and that is price.
In any retail environment price is very important especially on items that consumers use a lot of. Organic and natural food is 10-40% more expensive over traditional super markets and this can be seen negatively from an external perspective. In terms of using the Fit test, Whole Foods Market faces a disadvantage when it comes to consumer price and product. However this is offset by the target market of Whole Foods, who are willing and able to purchase the products even though they cost more on average. 3. How well is Whole Foods Market performing from a strategic perspective?
Does Whole Foods enjoy a competitive advantage over its 3 chief rivals—Wild Oats, Fresh Market and Trader Joe’s? Does the company have a winning strategy? From a strategic prospective Whole Foods Market has performed very well over the last few years. Whole foods market does have a competitive advantage over its rivals. As discussed earlier the location and growth strategy has helped out paced Wild Oats and Fresh Market. Although not the only reason they were successful, Whole Foods also had an advantage over other rivals such as Trader Joes by staying true to their core philosophy and ethical values of including and empowering stakeholders.