Sunday, 5 October 2008

Food For Thought

Whole Foods Market are the US retailer behind London's 'Fresh & Wild' organic/wholefood stores and last year they opened a huge food emporium - on 3 floors - in London's High St Ken, in the old Barkers building. It's an impressive store full of fresh food and produce with a really comprehensive offering. Its coffee shop was a great place to hang out today on a rainy Sunday morning. Although Whole Foods are a huge organisation with 270 stores in North America and the UK, the retailer has some original initiatives that UK supermarkets could learn a thing or two from. A couple of examples.

First, the Kensington store has in-store artists, a team of in-house graphic artists who produce all the store's distinctive signage. There was no sign of them on a Sunday morning but they hang out in a glass walled office where you can see them do their stuff (never seen sight of this concept before).

Second, they have a noticeboard for 'Sharing Ideas', where customers can post enquiries or complaints that store management then scribble responses to, for all to see.. The kind of exchanges that would normally remain in the in-boxes or in-trays of customer service personnel, but here displayed on the wall. Despite their size, they are trying to keep things personal.

Good simple ideas to give us all food for thought; whatever our business.

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