Whole Foods Selling Gift Baskets Online in U.K.

Discussion
Feb 24, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Whole Foods has no e-commerce function to speak of in
the U.S., but the natural foods grocer is making gift hampers (baskets in American)
available for purchase online in the U.K.

The company offers delivery anywhere
in the U.K. within two to three days of an order being placed.
According to the company’s website, “Food in its purest state — unadulterated
by artificial additives, sweeteners, colourings, and preservatives — is the
best tasting and most nutritious food available. Here in our web shop we have
selected some delicious hampers and fruit baskets, all made with wholesome,
additive-free ingredients, and available to buy on line and delivered direct
to your door.”

Among the items listed for sale on the site is the Italian Luxury
basket containing “pesto,
truffle cream, Rustichella spaghetti, spicy tomato and roasted garlic sauce,
risotto rice and pumpkin risotto mix, grissini, brigantini, extra virgin olive
oil, balsamic vinegar, Bitetto olives, artichoke hearts, amaretti, chocolate
gindujoitti, panforte, Whole Foods Market Montepulciano and Soave Classico.” It
retails for £169.99 including delivery and the value-added tax.

The chain is
also offering health and beauty baskets with items other than food including
Rose Mini’s Gift Set at £8.99 and the Jonathan
Ward Black & White scented candle collection for
£27.99.

Discussion Questions: Do you expect
to see Whole Foods do something similar in the U.S. as it is doing with online
ordering in the U.K.? What is your assessment of Whole Foods online and social
media approach in the U.S.?

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9 Comments on "Whole Foods Selling Gift Baskets Online in U.K."


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Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

First of all, England is a lot easier to cover than America is.

Secondly, the Brits may have no problem waiting for two or three days for a delivery but Americans still think overnight is too long.

Finally, the price point is a tad aggressive for U.S. tastes–even for Whole Foods customers.

Bottom line–it’s going to take a little more work before this idea is ready to migrate (at least at scale) to this side of “the pond.”

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

As a Whole Foods customer I enjoy and appreciate their current US website for its recipes and information regarding the basics of organics and natural products. I think the online ordering of gift baskets would be a great addition and a welcome alternative to the sweets and flowers that most gift basket purveyors offer. It’s also a terrific way to promote their brand to potential customers.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 2 months ago

It’s fair to say that UK customers are different from US customers. Heck, Canadian customers are different from US customers and we’re only separated by an imaginary line (and fences and border posts and guys with guns and badges).

Whole Foods could probably offer something unique. Marge makes a good point about basket content. Flowers and candy is so boring. Whole Foods could probably create some pretty unique and desirable creations. Selling them online is just another way to reach out to customers. Gift baskets and online shopping were meant for each other. WF could do it right with their current merchandise mix.

Janet Poore
Guest
Janet Poore
11 years 2 months ago
I don’t know about online gift baskets, but Whole Foods just opened a new store near me at Plymouth Meeting Mall in the Philadelphia area and it is to the old Whole Foods like Wegmans is to Giant. The store is at least twice the size of the normal Whole Foods and includes a Pub where you can have a glass of wine or beer, an artisan pizza station with wood fired pizza by the slice or whole, a hamburger/hot dog station similar to Five Guys with a board where you pick your toppings and with fresh cut fries. There are 2 hot bars, one devoted to BBQ and 2 cold bars. There’s a hand dipped gelato station and much more in artisan gourmet cakes and pastries. In the bulk food area, they have a station with 2 beer taps that dispense 2 kinds of BBQ sauce and you fill your own bottles that they provide. It appears that this is the new model for Whole Foods and it’s great. I could see them also… Read more »
Bernice Hurst
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

Gift hampers are big business in the UK and have been for a very long time. Whole Foods, on the other hand, hasn’t really taken off in a big way and has only the one store in London. Which makes the hamper offering a good idea here to introduce both purchaser and recipient to their range. I’m not sure any of this is relevant in the US where it has greater penetration and awareness.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 2 months ago

Of course they should offer this in the U.S. There is no downside. Their baskets would be a unique offering. They would send the message of Whole Foods. They would extend the visibility of the brand. In fact, this action is all about brand building and if it makes a little money along the way, great!

As high a profile as Whole Foods has among those who know the industry, it is hardly ubiquitous in the U.S. A program like this lays the groundwork for new customers to desire the unadulterated, additive free, wholesome offerings of Whole Foods.

Michelle Voorhies
Guest
Michelle Voorhies
11 years 2 months ago

I think this is a great offering for Whole Foods and feel it would be a value add to their US site as well. Distributing product through the online channel is a tough question for grocery stores, but I feel that this type of product is a perfect way to dip their toe in the water, learn about their customers appetite for online ordering and serve a real need. Gift baskets are always needed–whether it be for a professional gift or a personal note of congratulations or condolences–and Whole Foods has the type of target customer that is thinking about that kind of purchase. Why not make it easier for them to meet that need.

This is a great example of solving for a need with an online solution as opposed to just being online for the sake of being online.

Tim Henderson
Guest
Tim Henderson
11 years 2 months ago

I really like this. With one offering, Whole Foods manages to wrap personalization, deliciousness, wellness and convenience in same basket. But what’s really great about this gift basket offering is that it’s so simple. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same offering on this side of the Atlantic where it’s likely to resonate with consumers looking for convenient, practical gifts for their loved ones from a brand known for quality.

Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 2 months ago

It would seem to have a very targeted niche/audience in the US that would be willing to pay for the gifting piece. It also is a very “sticky” brand with that is in “vogue” at the present so if the execution is seamless, it would seem to make sense.

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