So Whole Foods (backed by Amazon) and Kroger are playing an interesting game of chess with CNBC reporting that Whole Foods will have less of a local focus and Kroger reporting that they will be taking the opposite approach.
First off, I’m a huge Amazon guy. Prime 2-day shipping lets my laziness to reach incredible new heights by allowing me to order literally everything that a human being needs to survive right from my phone/couch.
Having said that, when I do see fit to venture into a grocery store, free samples are the only thing keeping me from losing it while navigating hoards of parents wheeling around screaming kids and the guy who boxes everyone out of the cheese section for 45 minutes trying to decide between White American and Yellow American (White American is the only acceptable answer there btw).
A Whole Foods spokeswoman tells the WSJ “having brand advocates in stores is distracting to employees and inefficient.”
This is where I have to caution Whole Foods…Take a retailer like Costco or BJs. Do you think people go there for he 15 gallon drums of ketchup? No way Jose, they go for the samples. They both know that if they were to get rid of samples today, sales would literally drop to zero over night.
On a more serious note, going local is a great idea for Kroger. If you live in a US city and are even the slightest bit into the restaurant scene, you know that local shit is all the rage. Farm to table this, Ocean to plate that, locally sourced yada yada. Foodies, which seems like pretty much everyone these days, eat (no pun intended) this stuff up.
So take this as a warning Amazon, unless you want to lose my business (not my Prime business, I’ll still spend an insane amount of money with you there) then think twice about getting rid of food samples at Whole Foods.