Earlier this year Whole Foods Market launched a variety of initiatives to attract new customers as well as reverse its reputation and change its nickname from “Whole Paycheck.”
The organic grocery chain’s rivals, such as Kroger and Wal-Mart, are luring away Whole Food’s customers by offering lower-priced healthy options.
According to a report published by Scott Mushkin, an analyst for Wolfe Research, “Kroger and H-E-B have been stealing market share from Whole Foods by catering to middle-class shoppers who want to buy the occasional organic or high-end grocery product—but don’t want to have to visit a separate store to get it.”
As a result, Whole Foods Market has been experiencing a slow decline in sales since 2012.
In his report, Mushkin compared Whole Foods Market’s prices to other grocery stores and found Whole Foods prices were generally higher than other grocery stores that offer organic options.
To combat in-store sale declines; Whole Foods has created a rewards program to offer customers incentives to shop. The first-ever affinity program, which debuted this month, will reward customers for just shopping.
“Our customers have wanted an affinity program for some time,” Michael Silverman, spokesman for Whole Foods, said in an e-mail. “With such strong existing customer demand for a program like this, we believe it will enhance existing customer loyalty and drive new customers to shop Whole Foods Market stores.”
Additionally, thanks to a partnership with Instacart, Whole Foods will allow customers to have products delivered in as little as one hour. Customers will also have the option to place orders via Instacart and pick up orders at their local participating Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods has lowered prices, but customers have not noticed.