Monday, September 19, 2016

365 by Whole Foods Digital Foundation Evolving Food Retail

Sometimes concept stores take three steps forward then one step back and in the case of the third 365 by Whole Foods unit at Bellevue Square Mall location that just might be the case according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson.  But don’t stop reading there is a lot about this store he likes.
.Isabelle Francois, vice president of 365 by Whole Foods Market stated “The unique opportunity that we had is to create a brand and create a technology that comes with the brand,” … “Oftentimes, technology is an add-on. …The cool thing with 365 is we were able to build something coherent. What was really important to us was to build a brand with a digital foundation.” So what did we really like:

1.       All of the price tags in 365 are digital. The digital scale in the produce department  will print off price tags for shoppers for speedier checkout.
2.       The Digital price tags can be changed remotely add customer relevance and accuracy all while reducing labor cost at the unit level.
3.       The use of digital signage,” Francois said. “We’ve almost gone 100 percent digital with signage. Customers love it. It’s reliable.
4.       365 also partnered with a data visualization platform called Sage, which provides nutritional information on displays in the store. The idea is to offer more information to consumers concerned about nutrition, the environment, and other data. “They’re pretty innovative in their approach to food labeling,” Francois said. Sage’s information is also visible on the 365 website
5.       Customers can use a kiosk to order an assortment of food from the store’s kitchen. A taco from the 365 UPick window.)
6.       365’s Digital technology extends to larger display signs beyond the tags, where screens promote sales or in-store programs.

7.       The My 365 Rewards program is a 100 percent digital loyalty program that offers personalized recommendations, tailored content and special deals based on shopper preferences.
8.       Digital punch cards offer deals on favorite items. “Gimme 10” deals, promoted on the end caps of product aisles, provide 10 percent off featured goods.
9.       365 partnered with Banquet by Delectable; using the smartphone app can scan a bottle of wine and provide descriptions and ratings so you don’t have to hunt down an employee for that special brand of service. “You can see the reviews, the taste profile, pairings. It’s really a great resource,” Francois said. And while the app is available on anyone’s phone, the in-store version is specially curated for 365’s liquor assortment.

So, after our team at Foodservice Solutions® completed its tour we did have a few disappointments. First and foremost the inability to pay for a single prewrapped sandwich at the The Allegro Coffee Bus near the front of the 365 store. We encountered the same problem at previous 365 by Whole Foods units at other ‘kiosk/ vendors’ in other 365 units.
Our team would also want the self-serve teaBOT to speak when prompted with an order. Ok, that may be a little much for most of you but remember we are located in the Seattle Metro Area and technology does abound here. 

Once again our Grocerant Guru® thought the store was simple to large?  Legacy grocery stores do not have 25 feet of bananas on display and over ripe.  This Mall store was clearly simply trying to use us space.  That’s space a new unit may not even need.
Our most critical observation as a team was the missed opportunity for a focus more on Fresh Meals for TAKE-OUT, TAKE-AWAY, TO-GO. It’s a mall store with foot traffic, lots of foot traffic.  We observed many coming in leaving with nothing. 

When our team members spoke inquired what they thought no ‘food solution’ was ever mentioned.  Meals, fresh meals, family meals and kid’s meals are all top of mind for consumers daily and saving time buying Grocerant Niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat customizable meals would complement this digital format.  Mall customers buy meals TO-GO as well.  Note: All Photo’s by FS GrocerantGuru®

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom line profits.  Are you Looking A Customer Ahead?  Visit   or Contact for more information.  Remember Success does leave clue and we just may have the right clue for you.

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