The Chicago Whole Foods creates a unique shopping environment centered on experience, both within the store and with the products it sells. Services like the Wellness Club, in-store restaurants, and social events serve to differentiate Whole Foods from other retail outlets and to drive shoppers back into the store by educating and creating a bond beyond simply making a purchase.
Key Store Features to Consider
- In-Store Dining
- Wellness Club
An emerging trend in the grocery channel is stronger emphasis on social space, which Whole Foods marries with the well established larger prepared and ready-to-eat food offers. While Whole Foods is consistently strong in this category across its entire store network, the Chicago store advances this practice by building distinct dining areas into the store.
This Whole Foods contains a variety of in-house restaurants of various styles, a full diner, and a wine bar, along with its typical rows of buffet style prepared food. Further, the store invites patrons to socialize providing plenty of seating at the “restaurant” counters and in large communal areas so customers can enjoy the prepared food products purchased from the store. The three bars also feature social events like trivia, wine and cheese nights, and small performances that make the retail outlet an appealing social hangout.
A number of retailers have incorporated localization strategies into their stores in an attempt to convey a commitment to local communities and give their customers access to a product assortment tailored specifically to their needs. Whole Foods displays three different types of localization in the Chicago flagship.
This store features “Buy Local” departments that promote and sell the goods of local farmers and producers, thus supporting the community in which the store is located. The store also caters to local preferences, as seen in the prepared food section “Tastes from Chicago”. Finally, there are examples of Whole Foods direct charitable contributions to the local communities, such as their donations to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
A recurring element in Whole Foods positioning is health and wellness. Through products, services, and now the Wellness Club program, the store makes an effort to engage health-conscious shoppers throughout the store. The Wellness Club is a holistic program that offers everything from cooking classes, yoga, nutrition information and store discounts and it is advertised almost everywhere in the building. The store also offers blood pressure screening and free information and recipes through the “Health Starts Here” program.
Conclusions & Implications to Retailers and Suppliers
The Chicago Whole Foods flagship amounts to more than a retail outlet. It is an experience, a social space, a variety of restaurants, a health club, and a charitable organization. This store has positioned itself as part of the local community and a one-stop-shop for its citizens every health & wellness and food related need.
Download a more comprehensive analysis of the Whole Foods Flagship Store’s features HERE.
Take a virtual tour of this store through the photo gallery on RetailNet Group’s corporate website.