In case you missed it last week, we released a report card of the top 150 retailers on how they leverage local Internet marketing to drive in-store sales.   The results were quite surprising.   Overall, there was only one brand that got a passing grade, and that was Whole Foods Market.   The score looked at 4 key Internet marketing categories – local SEO, social media, mobile marketing and content marketing – and analyzed over 25 sub-categories.

It’s not surprising to me that Whole Foods did so well, although it was surprising how far other retailers lag behind.  Let’s take a look at each major category.

Whole Foods Local SEO – 6.85 out of 10

Local SEO SearchWhole Foods get’s a passing but not outstanding grade on local SEO.  They have claimed their Google Place (Google+ Local) pages, but they are not well enough optimized.   For example they often don’t have photos or location based keywords in each description.  The top 10 directories have relatively consistently optimized information but they haven’t done a great job building other citations.  Their website is relatively well optimized for local SEO, with individual location pages, schema data and location metadata on the pages.   Room for improvement but a solid score.


Whole Foods Local Social Media – 4 out of 10

Local Social MediaWhole Foods does a nice job on both Facebook and Twitter, creating local accounts for each location and empowering their local store to retweet and engage.   We spend a good amount of time in the Retail 150 white paper talking about ways Whole Foods leverages national content such as what wine to serve with Thanksgiving turkey and how they create local groundswell with it by using their local accounts to post it out adding local comments like specific wines and employees to talk to.   They do a GREAT job on Facebook and Twitter.

However, Whole Foods does not respond to reviews on Facebook location pages, Yelp accounts or Google Place pages.  Social reputation is a crucial influencer of in-store consumer behavior and 33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them.   This is a big opportunity for Whole Foods to open up to both their dissenters and their most vocal champions and develop a better relationship.

Whole Foods Mobile Marketing – 7.63 out of 10

The Whole Foods website is mobile optimized, but we had issues with their GPS finder.   In downtown Manhattan it was recommending places in Long Island 14 miles away, rather than the location 1 mile away in TriBeCa or the one on the Lower East Side.   Social media links were prominent in the footer, although no link to Yelp, and they hide their email newsletter signup which they make available on their regular site.   Overall, a good but not flawless experience.
Whole Foods Mobile Marketing 1Whole Foods Mobile Website 2 Whole Foods Mobile Marketing 3

Whole Foods Content Marketing – 10 out of 10

Whole Foods really shines in the way they promote their content both nationally and locally.  By empowering local marketing directors at each store, they have essentially created mini-sites for each store, with custom content for events and promotions and co-promoting nearby events at other stores. Each store is a separate entity, creating a bond between customer and store. When customers think of “Whole Foods Market”, they think of their local store, whereas when people think of most retailers they think of the national brand. That’s the power of local content. 
Whole Foods Content Marketing

I Want My Local Marketing Report Card

If you are one of the top 150 retailers, the good news is that we already have done the evaluation.   Contact us at and we will review it with you.  You might be surprised.   If you are not a top 150 Retailer, don’t worry.  We work with all of our customers to make sure each and everyone of them has a strategy to address the core tenets of local internet marketing and a roadmap to dominate and drive in-store sales.  Contact us.  We can help.