A tale of two retail experiences: Whole Foods and Apothecarium

Two modern retail experiences: Whole Foods/Amazon and a ultra-luxurious modern cannabis store, Apothecarium.

Have you been to a Whole Foods recently? They’re using their membership program which will aid a “seamless customer experience” They’ve added a QR code scanner underneath the POS system, you can scan your Whole Foods app, and receive discounts. Around the store, they’re offering a variety of deep discounts for Prime members — and they’re pushing the membership model and will win with data. Instacart delivery still appears to be functioning — although I’m waiting for Amazon to flip the switch and offer their own Fresh delivery. Obviously, in a few years, we’ll see the Go feature, I can walk right into a Whole Foods — and out, without talking to a cashier. Obviously, the end result will be a marketplace/showroom, delivery services, redefining what early towns knew as the old town square.

Curious if anyone has visited Apothecarium? It’s a high-end marijuana retail experience in SF and beyond. While I don’t partake, I visited with a friend who does, and saw the Nordstrom quality layout, attentive greeters, well lit area. We checked in, the greeter took us to a modern lounge, till we were called to the counter to the counter where we met a well groomed professional who offered my friend a menu. She asked questions like “What type of mood are you seeking? Energy, focus, relaxation, sleep aids?” She pulled out a lengthy menu, and then offered small vials to smell the organic buds. The experience was akin to high-end fashion retail meets a Napa wine bar. The modern commercialization of Marijuana is here.

Bottom Line: Amazon will use the data to predict what foods and services you want — and anticipate your needs with a stocked home. What was once illegal and taboo is now a commercial churning luxury experience — there’s a business opportunity, you just have to be creative.