Amazon is not kidding around when it comes to their acquisition of Whole Foods. They proposed to Whole Foods at the end of June, and their merger goes through on Monday! This is like the corporate equivalent of a shotgun wedding, but no one’s pregnant (we hope). All joking aside, Amazon has already laid out some of their plans for Whole
Paycheck Foods, and the message is clear: Prices are going down, and get your Prime membership ready!
Press releases for corporate mergers are generally dull and factual, but Amazon decided to make their intentions extremely clear. Just look at the opening to the press release:
Amazon and Whole Foods Market today announced that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market will close on Monday August 28, 2017, and the two companies will together pursue the vision of making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone. As a down payment on that vision, Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of best-selling grocery staples across its stores, with more to come.
Further down in the release, they clarified that the price drops will be seen on eggs, bananas, salmon, ground beef and other staples. They also indicated that Prime members will receive perks and discounts, and that Amazon Lockers will begin appearing at Whole Foods, and the lockers will allow you to both pick up and return packages.
Basically, in the course of one press release, Amazon confirmed what everyone suspected when the acquisition was announced; this was a way to bring Prime into more brick and mortar locations, expand their footprint for customer interaction, and give them access to the grocery channel. However, no one expected them to do all that on the first day! The fact that price cuts, Prime integration, and Amazon Lockers are all coming nearly immediately is an indication that Amazon is thinking much, much bigger. I have a few guesses on what we might see:
- Grocery coupons that offer $1 or so off a movie rental, just like you get when you choose slower shipping via Prime.
- Fire Tablets either mounted to grocery carts or available to shoppers, with special Whole Foods specific apps that assist with navigating the store, managing grocery lists, and even suggesting recipes (say you see eggplant is on sale-hit a button on the tablet and it spits out a recipe and an addendum to your grocery list with the new ingredients needed.
- A whole lot of cookbooks on display, and probably more expanded food-adjacent books sections.
- In lieu of rainchecks, Amazon will automatically ship any item you need that they don’t have in stock.
- A section of the store devoted to the Amazon ecosystem-Kindles on display, more details about Prime, and probably a dedicated employee there to sign you up or walk you through the benefits available.
- Some sort of build your own meal delivery kit, where you can select any recipes you wish and pick up a specially packaged grocery box with everything you need (effectively, a more tailored competitor to Blue Apron/Sunbasket/Purple Carrot).
- Every Whole Foods will now carry the Washington Post (KIDDING.)
When Amazon first announced the Whole Foods deal, it shocked most of the business world, but everyone could see the benefits that Amazon might roll out long term. Instead, they’ve closed this deal remarkably fast, and have already stated their intention to aggressively change how customers shop at Whole Foods. We’re in uncharted territory here! You’ve seen my predictions…let us know what yours are below!