Research December 18, 2015

Whole Foods’ Digital Performance: Average

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Despite robust social presence, an active brand blog, and full-fledged recipe site, Whole Foods ranks just Average in L2’s 2015 Digital IQ Index: Big Box. The brand has aligned itself with digitally savvy millennials, being one of the first brands to accept Apple pay. Earlier this year, it announced plans to open the 365 offshoot focused on the same age group. On Facebook, Whole Foods has 94% share of voice in the grocery category. It has the highest Twitter reach of all brands in the Big Box category, 16.5x the Index average.

Yet, Whole Foods is the lowest-ranking Average brand the Big Box category, 42nd of 61 brands. Why the low score? For starters, none of its blog posts, recipes or instructional videos link to commerce, failing to put interested consumers on a path to purchase. Product pages only exist for catering trays, and consumers that don’t live in a zip code served by Instacart have no way of finding out what groceries are available in their local store.

In search, Whole Foods appears in just 2% of first-page organic search results for non-branded grocery search terms, on par with grocery brands in the Index but far behind the Big Box category as a whole. The brand appeared in no paid results, suggesting underinvestment in search ads.

Even though Whole Foods is far more digitally savvy than other grocery brands such as Safeway, ShopRite, and Trader Joe’s, it should strengthen its digital footprint to compete with Walmart, who has unmatched SEO and SEM strategies, and strong omnichannel practices.

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