ShopAbility’s Alison Sinclair takes a look around a flagship store for one of the giants of American retail – Wholefoods.
During a recent trip to New York I visited the Whole Foods store on Union Square (on advice of a local who said it was a “must see”). In a busy city filled with young professionals this Whole Foods store definitely hits the mark offering an extensive range of meal solutions, with a focus throughout the store on health and wellbeing, service and the environment.
This store is set over 3 levels. The top floor is a dining room, ground floor (street level) is filled with convenience offers while the basement level houses traditional grocery categories.
The selection of ready made and self serve food is seriously impressive with the majority of the ground floor dedicated to meal solutions which include ready-to-eat fruit salads, sandwiches, wraps, a self serve soup bar, make your own salad bar, a wide selection of prepared hot dishes offering everything from noodles to curries and roasts.
While not cheap, these food offers represent good value for SINK/DINK households who would find it more expensive to purchase all of the ingredients required to make these meals at home. They are also extremely convenient to pick up to eat on the go or take home for an easy dinner…not to mention the fact you could easily eat something different every day for a year with the huge selection on offer.
The basement houses a full range of grocery categories with everything from traditional centre store categories to a wide selection of fresh fruit, cheese, meat and seafood. The focus is on better-for-you offers with a 10% discount on offer for members of the Whole Foods Wellness Club. Even the health and beauty aisle has a health food feel about it with the focus on ‘Whole Body’.
The entire store has a delicatessen or market ambience that engages the shopper and encouraging them to try new things and discover new foods. There are expert staff and sampling areas located throughout the store adding to the experience.
The registers, all 35 of them, are located on the ground floor and allow shoppers to get out of the store quickly, further emphasising the focus this retailer has placed on convenience in an effort to satisfy its shoppers.
Oh, and for those of you wondering how you get a full trolley from the basement to the registers on the ground floor, they’ve thought of that too. There is a purpose-built trolley escalator that transports your trolley up to the ground floor as you ride the regular escalator beside your groceries.
Coles and Woolworths may be slowly embracing the idea of ready-made meals and convenience based offers but they have a long way to go before they are even close to the same league as Whole Foods.