In late January, Whole Foods announced that they were going to cease offering plastic grocery bags to customers, effective on Earth Day (April 22, 2008). Instead, customers are being encouraged to purchase reusable shopping bags at Whole Foods or elsewhere.
From a business owner’s perspective, this is a very bold move. It’s usually not a great idea to add an obstacle to the sales process, and that is exactly what Whole Foods has done. The theory is that if you make it less convenient for a customer to buy something, then they will find somewhere else to buy it.
I believe Whole Foods will disprove that notion and to the contrary, increase customer loyalty through this initiative. Unlike many other markets, I always find that there’s a buzz when I walk into Whole Foods. People seem to really enjoy shopping there and part of that is their significant focus on promoting organic food and messaging throughout the store that is environmentally conscious. I would be willing to wager that the average Whole Foods customers share these philosophies and are prepared to go through the extra steps involved in bringing their own (reusable) bags each time they shop.
In honor of Earth Day 2008, business owners should consider making a pledge to truly understand the mindsets of their customers and make decisions that will benefit the company, the customer and the environment. Be Bold. Go Green. Benefit. If you would like to read more about the Whole Foods program, please click here, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/byobag/.