Despite the apparent contradriction, lower-priced goods and services can absolutely be considered a luxury. Whole Foods’ newest launch exemplifies just that.
Whole Foods has begun introducing their new 365 by Whole Foods Market stores, with the first location opening just last week in Silver Lake, California. The markets are designed to expand Whole Foods’ appeal by offering lower prices while also infusing more technology into the shopping experience. The way the world perceives premium and luxury goods and services has changed drastically, providing the perfect opportunity for this launch. We are firm believers that price does not necessarily correlate with premium or luxury any longer. Lower-priced goods and services can absolutely be considered luxury, especially when the experience exceeds expectations or improves consumers’ perceptions about a brand. At The O Group, Rethink Luxury is the point of view that drives all of our work. It’s our ethos for shifting how consumers view both luxury and traditionally non-luxury brands. So you can imagine how excited we were when Whole Foods announced “365.”
You could argue that Whole Foods is not a luxury brand. Sure, they offer premium-priced food and other goods, but at its core the brand is just a grocery store, right? Wrong. Whole Foods has helped create a monumental shift in how consumers approach shopping for groceries. From encouraging consumers to understand where their food comes from, to providing access to obscure and hard-to-find produce to their local market, the chain has elevated the grocery shopping experience to something for which people are willing to pay a premium. So, should we consider a scaled-down and lower-priced version of Whole Foods to be luxury? Definitely. Here’s why: regardless of the cost of the goods found at the new 365 Markets, the brand provides shoppers an elevated and considered grocery shopping experience. There will be craft beer and coffee bars, in-store dining options and plenty of interesting new technology – including robots. Best of all for their Millennial target, the prices will be reasonable. After all, living well (even on a budget) is the greatest luxury of all.