Great post, thanks for sharing.
When reading about their declining stock price in the face of stronger competition, I was wondering whether Whole Foods, which advocates a more environmentally-friendly and healthy version of the traditional grocery store, might ever find itself actually fighting a trend toward greater health and environmental consciousness among its competitors. Even small changes made at traditional stores, with their far larger customer base, might have a larger impact on these issues than all of Whole Foods operations. In this sense, while Whole Foods’ success has helped further these components of their mission, it has also created copy cats that could threaten its future. It will be interesting to see how Whole Foods defends its turf.
Thanks for this post – its always interesting to learn about someone succeeding a super obscure niche. I’d be curious what you think about their policy to answer the phone within three rings: how important do you think it is to their customers that they not use an automated answering system to route calls? Their policy of 3 rings or less seems very customer-friendly, but I’d be curious to see how costly it is for them to staff their call center to support this goal. A limited automated system could greatly reduce this cost, but perhaps its too important to customers to sacrifice.