Organic Living: How Whole Foods is Broadening Their Reach with Mobile

By the Editors

As the saying goes, you are what you eat. If you believe there’s some truth behind the old adage, there’s no better time to go organic. Restaurants and food stores selling organic products have seen a surge in popularity over the past few years due to recent reports of GMOs, pink slime, and pesticides. And many of these businesses are getting creative with marketing campaigns in order to draw in more customers and stand out from the competition. Here’s how Whole Foods Market, one of the largest organic grocery chains in the US, is using mobile to help increase sales and broaden their reach, and here’s what you can learn from their case study.

Whole Foods Market has been providing customers with access to healthy organic fruits, veggies, and products since 1980. The market, established in Austin, Texas, began as a small local health food store called Saferway. Founder John Mackey and his girlfriend were actually on the verge of filing for bankruptcy and lived in the store at one time. But the organic living concept caught on, and the business took off. And despite its humble beginnings, Whole Foods has grown to become one of the most well known organic markets in the US. Today the company has over 340 across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Whole Foods began exploring mobile marketing in 2009 with the launch of their first mobile app. The company developed Whole Foods Market Recipes, a highly useful app designed to promote healthy eating. The app lets users browse recipes for special diets, such as gluten free or sugar free meals; get ideas for meals based on ingredients that you have at home; create grocery shopping and favorite food lists; and find nearby Whole Foods locations. The app has been hugely popular with their target market – those interested in healthy eating – because it creates considerable value for the user.

The company also sought to broaden their reach with a unique mobile website that makes it easy for users to locate nearby stores, and place online catering orders. The Whole Foods mobile site lets you click through to your preferred store, and place orders for everything from appetizers for a holiday gathering to gift baskets of tasty treats. The mobile site provides a serious convenience factor for customers on the go.

Most recently, the company created a banner ad campaign that ran in the popular Pandora app for iPhone. The ad campaign, which showcased Whole Foods discounted items, provided a clear, concise call to action for potential customers: “Click for Our Madness Sales!” Users who clicked through on the banner ad were directed to a landing page which featured a number of sale items to browse. It also allowed users to locate their nearest Whole Foods store and sign up for an email list to receive notifications about sales directly to their inbox. The campaign helped the company broaden its reach by providing customers with a clear call to action, and an easy way to get information about discounted items and find local stores.

For over three decades, Whole Foods Market has been committed to providing consumers with healthy organic options. The stores’ commitment to health and forward-thinking take on marketing has made them one of the most widely known grocery chains in the country.