Whole Foods is looking for its next wave of growth by opening up over 1,000 “smaller and urban” stores in markets it would have never considered 10 years ago. By going smaller in markets, Whole Foods is delivering on its bigger promise of becoming accessible to the masses, helping people get healthier and hopefully integrating its purpose into the lives of those who never knew that Whole Foods was a brand for them.
Moving into lower income areas as well is counter-intuitive to the premium-priced products offered at Whole Foods. The CEO recently said ” This (move into lower income areas) is a bit of a stretch for us, but it’s the next stretch. And it’s one that makes sense…as long as we do it respectively and inclusively within a community.”
In the competitive background to Whole Foods announcement, is the fact that other very large retailers are considering similar strategies. Walmart for example is already developing neighbourhood express stores.
Core questions that need to be asked when seeking growth outside your comfort zone.
Q1. What is your overall growth narrative—what is the story you aspire to achieve and to tell to your employees, investors, customers and communities about?
Q2. Where is there unmet demand and drivers of growth that tie into what you are good at?
Q3. Where and how can you leverage your brand and overall customer experience to help you succeed in new segments and geographies that don’t fit the typical template?
Q4. What shifts do you need to make to your business model to succeed if you are going down new growth paths?
Q5. How can you uphold your overall mission, vision, values and purpose as you move outside your sweet spot?