New Whole Foods’ store-within-a-store concept is ‘rooted in nature’
One of the most closely-watched players in the grocery world, Amazon-owned Whole Foods, has opened a boutique in one of its locations that takes the retailer into new, non-food territory.
A Whole Foods in Bridgewater, NJ is now home to a boutique called Bridgewater Plant & Plate, which the grocer’s website describes as a lifestyle shop dedicated to “beauty, garden and home goods rooted in nature.”
An article announcing the store’s opening on POPSUGAR further details the shop’s offerings — a mix of national brands like Hedley & Bennett aprons and products like candles, jewelry, floral crafts and pottery from local and regional brands and artists.
Since Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, many smaller grocery competitors have been adding non-grocery items and store sections to offer more differentiated shopping experiences in anticipation of increased competition.
For instance, regional grocer Hy-Vee has placed Basin and Beauty boutique stores-within-a-store in 11 of its 240 locations. That chain has also begun a partnership with fitness chain Orangetheory to provide workout classes (in addition to other food-related partnerships).
The newly-launched Plant & Plate boutique is also an interesting move for Whole Foods in light of its shift in buying practices and supplier relationships.
Long perceived as a good place for local and regional CPG brands to get on the shelf and gain a market foothold, Whole Foods has taken a series of steps towards centralization that could limit the variation of offerings across stores. Last August, the chain accelerated an existing plan to consolidate buying at its central office in Austin. In January, the chain announced the implementation of slotting allowances, making vendors pay to place their products on store shelves and displays.
If the point of the buying centralization is to promote consistency between store experiences, that could mean a plan to eventually expand the Plant & Plate concept and signal that Amazon isn’t limiting what’s on Whole Foods’ shelves to groceries.
- Bridgewater Plant & Plate – Whole Food Market
- Whole Foods Has Opened the Home Decor Boutique of Your Nesting Dreams – POPSUGAR
- Will store-within-a-store-concepts make Hy-Vees more attractive destinations? – RetailWire
- Whole Foods asks vendors to pay to play – RetailWire
- Will centralized buying make Whole Foods a more formidable competitor? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see adding Plant & Plate boutiques as the right move for Whole Foods on a larger scale? What does such a move say about Amazon/Whole Foods’ strategy moving forward? How do you expect competitors to react?