Customer Relationships and Satisfaction

Career Connections: Customer Relationships and Satisfaction

MKT 571

Abstract

In any business, it is important to understand the connection between customer relationships and customer satisfaction. This paper will focus on developing a plan to improve customer relationships and increase satisfaction at Whole Foods Market, a leading natural foods grocery store in the US. The paper will explain how Whole Foods Market might segment the local market based on consumer/business demographic information, behaviors, psychographics (attitudes, interests, and lifestyle), geography, and product or service benefits. The paper will develop a strategy for attracting the target audience to Whole Foods Market and explain the reasoning for using marketing principles and sound marketing concepts. The paper will also develop a strategy for building long-term relationships and strong customer loyalty between Whole Foods Market and the target audience using Customer Relationship Management (CRM), personal communications/direct marketing, social media, events, publicity, and/or frequency marketing/rewards ideas, while explain each strategy and its related goal(s). Finally, the paper will discuss some tactics that could be used to implement the strategy with reasons for selecting each tactic, discuss at least three potential methods of measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty, and develop messages for initially attracting the target audience and then for maintaining a strong, mutually-beneficial relationship.

Keywords: Customer, Relationships, Satisfaction, Market, Segmentation, Characteristics, Demographics, Psychographic, Geographic, Behavioral, Strategy

Career Connections: Customer Relationships and Satisfaction

Whole Foods Market is the world’s leader in natural and organic foods. It was found in 1980 on the premise of providing the highest quality of natural and organic foods. The company allows consumers who sign up for Whole Foods market Rewards to earn points redeemable for free products and dollar-off discounts every time they shop (Whole Foods Market IP. L.P., 2016). While the company began with one store in Austin, Texas, it quickly became a success with 447 stores in the US and the UK (Whole Foods Market IP. L.P., 2016).

Market Segmentation within the Industry

The natural and organic food industry have been built on the premise of providing the best experience and products to those who may not be able to grow them on their own due to financial constraints, consumers who prefer a variety of options or both. Primarily a market for healthy lifestyle eating, it has been created in part by the explosion in health innovations. The recent health conscience movement has allowed the natural and organic food market an opportunity to thrive. Whole Foods Market in particular caters to a certain niche segment of this market. By targeting customers who are more health conscience they seek to appeal to the consumers’ sense of cultural expectation, minimalism, and quality. The founders believe there exists a cultural expectation to eat healthier. Social media has heightened this expectation in that our lives are on display for the whole world to see. The ability to offer high-quality natural foods below retail prices is perhaps the greatest benefit of Whole Foods Market. They offer online ordering, competitive prices, and high-quality products with no additives. Additionally, Whole Foods Market is unique because it actively seeks to build brand relationships with up and coming local natural and organic food suppliers. Instead of relying mainly on a stock of well-recognized brands, Whole Foods Market can attract both young and older adults who are seeking to make a commitment to healthy eating. In attempting to build a symbiotic relationship between their consumers and the brands that they carry, Whole Foods Market has created their segment of the market to cater to.

Company Characteristics

Having discussed Whole Foods Market and its primary market segment, features of the company are as follows:

Demographic

Whole Foods Market can be seen as having a broad demographic ranging from millennials to baby boomers. While they appeal to young and older adults who may wish to eat healthier, they appeal to consumers who enjoy the variety of the selections, the focus on local suppliers, as well as teens.

Psychographic

Whole Foods Market targets consumers whose attitudes and values demonstrate they believe that high quality all natural meats and produce should be a necessity in their lives. According to Organic Trade Association (2016), “With $43.3 billion in total organic product sales, the industry saw its largest dollar gain ever, adding $4.2 billion in sales in 2015, up from the $3.9 billion recorded in 2014. For the fourth year running, the industry saw growth in the double-digits at 10.8%. To-date, the industry has shown continuous and steady gains since the economic downturn of 2009 with a growth rate well beyond that of the overall food market at 3.3% in 2015. 78 percent of organic buyers say they typically buy their organic foods at conventional food stores/supermarkets. Over half also shop organic at the “big box” stores, and some 30 percent also report that it’s not unusual to buy organic at one of the warehouse clubs in the country. African American and Hispanic families have been steadily increasing among the ranks of organic-buying households.” This percentage is reflective of how important eating healthy is to the typical household.

Geographic

Whole Foods Market has 447 locations within the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and ships everywhere (Whole Foods market, 2016). However, based on the nature of their products it is likely that their geographic demographics are skewed for more metropolitan and populated areas.

Behavioral

Whole Foods Market worked to give consumers the best experience and products, because they consider quality the highest form of value (Whole Foods Market, 2016). Customers have been conditioned that it is possible to eat healthier without paying the prices that such products would normally cost. These behaviors can be partly attributed local suppliers throughout the country where consumers search out natural fresh meats and produce.

Positioning Strategy

Whole Foods Market has positioned itself as an experimental marketing engine. The company seeks to expose customers to healthy natural food products. They offer a money back guarantee for any dissatisfied customer. Additionally, they are appealing to consumers because they provide access to a variety of natural products for a fraction of the cost.

Marketing Strategy and Customer Relationship

Whole Foods Market is not only a grocery store offering natural and organic foods. It has increased grown 1 to 447 stores that specialize in providing the best products at the best price. This success can be attributed to the successful marketing strategy adopted by founders, which is centered on building a strong public relationship. The founders dedicated their business to not only provide consumers with a tremendous variety of quality products but also a commitment to support a sustainable and healthier planet.

According to Whole Foods Market (2016), “Whole Foods Market’s vision of a sustainable future means our children and grandchildren will be living in a world that values human creativity, diversity, and individual choice. Businesses will harness human and material resources without devaluing the integrity of the individual or the planet’s ecosystems. Companies, governments, and institutions will be held accountable for their actions. People will better understand that all actions have repercussions and that planning and foresight coupled with hard work and flexibility can overcome almost any problem encountered. It will be the world that values education and a free exchange of ideas by an informed citizenry; where people are encouraged to discover, nurture, and share their life’s passions.

At Whole Foods Market, we are starting to implement this new vision of the future by changing the way we think about the relationships between our food supply, the environment, and our bodies.”

A good method to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty is through the use of a survey that includes some of the questions that measure the degree of customer’s satisfaction such as:

1.Would you recommend Whole Foods Market to your family and friends?

2.How likely are you to continue to buy our products?

3.How satisfied are you with our brands and styles?

4.You consider the overall value of the service/product we provided as:

This is an example of the types of questions that can be used to measure the overall performance of the company, and examine the efficiency of the enterprise’s strategies and plans. The results and data collected can be used to develop more effective and efficient strategies and plans that will be pillars of the company’s success.

  • An extraordinary value. It is worth more than what you paid.
  • A good value. Worth what you paid.
  • A reduced value. Worth less than what you paid.

References

Organic Trade Association. (2016). Market Analysis. Retrieved from

http://ota.com/resources/market-analysis

Whole Foods Market. (2016). Company Info. Retrieved from

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info