Harvard Business Review at Whole Foods?

By | November 4, 2013

I shop at Whole Foods. Not all the time, but enough to be embarrassed by it. Have to stop making fun of bourgeois-y people since I have become one of them. Look what I saw in the check-out aisle at Whole Foods. Not People magazine.  Not Oprah magazine. Nope.

Impulse reading = Harvard Business Review? Apparently, Whole Foods customers are the type of people who would pick up HBR and flip through it while waiting for their purchase. Classic. Yes, this must be where management consultants shop.

Whole Foods HBRSegmentation. For the non-marketing types, this might be a good visual to remember. There is a lot more than simple geographic and demographic segmentation. Don’t forget the other factors that influence how and why people shop at Whole foods:  values, attitudes, interests, activities, purchase frequency, behaviors etc. . .

Whole Foods knows it customer segments. Without doing rigorous segmentation that Nielsen might do, I simply goggled the words “Whole Foods Customer Segmentation” and look what I found. . . Whole Foods 2012 10-K explaining their 4 customer segments:

Whole Foods

Unlike shoppers at conventional grocery stores, we believe many of our customers connect with us on a deeper level because of our shared values and, for this reason, continue to shop with us even in  uncertain economic times.  Based on our research, we believe our customers can be segmented into four broad categories: 
  • Conscionables embody the Core Values of Whole Foods Market; they support social and environmental initiatives and are frequent shoppers who spend the largest proportion of their monthly grocery bill with us. 
  • Organics buy organically grown food as a way to maintain their personal health and for food safety reasons. 
  • Foodies equate food with love and are frequent shoppers who shop our stores for selection, value and convenience, and
  • Experientials are driven to Whole Foods Market for unique products and special occasion items.

Do you shop at Whole Foods?

Which segment do you belong to?  My wife is an Organic and I am a Foodie.

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3 thoughts on “Harvard Business Review at Whole Foods?

  1. Simon Teale

    Would be interesting to extract HBR’s target segmentation and compare!

    A partial explanation may be that typical HBR readers are cash rich / time poor and so shopping at Wholefoods helps them optimise the value of their personal life. Or maybe HBR readers think longer term and so are attracted by the sustainability subtext.

    But I worry that another demographic will find HBR’s presence a turn off and shop elsewhere!

    Thanks for the insight. I don’t think any of our UK supermarkets sell HBR or equivalent but I’ll look out!

    1. consultantsmind Post author

      Completely agree with all of your points. I knew that Whole Foods appealed to an educated, white-collar crowd, but HBR was a surprise. By the way, HBR is awesome and a surprisingly easy (dare I say, interesting) read.

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