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Whole Foods can kick its overpriced reputation with Amazon’s help

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A challenge for Whole Foods and Amazon is balancing consumer desires for higher quality and lower prices.

Whole Foods battled its “Whole Paycheck” reputation in vain for more than a decade before Amazon.com Inc.’s acquisition of the natural and organic grocer. Now it has a chance to shake that rep once and for all, but it must be strategic or risk losing the thing that customers liked best about the company in the first place.

“Amazon is walking that fine line between doing away with ‘Whole Paycheck’ without removing the caché, and that’s a pretty thin line,” said Jeff Inman, president of the Society for Consumer Psychology and associate dean for research and faculty at the University of Pittsburgh’s business school.

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