When Whole Foods Market announced in May that it planned to open a new chain of stores offering a lower price point and specifically targeting millennials, it’s safe to say that the reaction from industry analysts and observers was underwhelming. Responses have ranged from confusion to outright skepticism, and there is a general sense of uncertainty surrounding the whole enterprise. My own reaction falls somewhere on the spectrum between “dubious” and “confused.” I have many questions, not least of which is why, if the new chain will continue to remain focused on offering healthy and all natural foods, Whole Foods would go to such lengths to create a brand that has the potential to cannibalize their own business. For this weeks Retail Rap, I’d like to talk about some of the questions that I have about this new concept.
While the announcement promises a “new” and “different” concept, I’m not clear about how “It will be unlike any of the other stores you’re seeing out there.” The stores will reportedly be “technology-oriented,” with a streamlined design and a “curated” product selection. All of which is fine, I suppose, although (again) it doesn’t tell us much in the way of specifics.
There has been lots of discussion about the wisdom of expressly targeting millennials, but the big question to me is why you would go all-in on such a strategy when it seems like Whole Foods is already getting a strong share of millennial business. It depends on which Whole Foods location you go to, of course, but in my experiences millennials seem to be a well-represented demographic.
I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely curious to hear more and to try and get a better sense of just how Whole Foods plans to make this new concept successful. After reading my thoughts in this week’s Retail Rap, I’d love to hear if you could see this type of brand flourishing in the current marketplace? Are there more pieces to the millennial puzzle that we’ve yet to put together?