The Amazonification of Whole Foods

12th June 2018

Everything Now

Amazon has spent the last decade driving the culture of ‘everything now’, which has now matured into a well-honed customer and logistics experience. Gone are the days of waiting at home for parcels being delivered and this approach is now being integrated with the grocery shopping experience for consumers.

This isn’t the first time two brands have united to create a more consolidated and focused offer. Currys and PC World, Carphone Warehouse and Dixons have all reaped the benefits of combining strengths, and Argos has now launched its digital stores in over 60 Sainsbury’s shopfronts.

The Amazonification of Whole Foods

On a recent business trip to San Francisco, I was excited to see Amazon had launched it’s new order and collect service, with pickers in store shopping for you, with customers being given a two hour window to collect.

Whilst the setup looked a little amateur and quickly pulled together, it became clear that this was a serious venture by Amazon, with multiple staff out picking and shopping for customers.

Shopping (both ambient and refrigerated) was set out in plain brown bags on shelves with customer name and scan code attached and ready for collection. I could see how this would be a great thing for the busy socialites of SF, planning post work drinks (very popular any day of the week) and integrating collection of dinner ingredients on the way home; it would certainly appeal to me.

Customers can also collect their other Amazon purchase with Amazon Locker, and as we all know in the world of marketing, getting people in-store is one of the hardest jobs, but once they are there, then the opportunities to sell are endless. This is where I think Amazon made a mistake with this store as the lockers were at the entrance, so no leading past enticing impulse purchases or delicious smells for dinner.

A recent introduction for Prime customers includes a well curated set of discounts and offers, which is clearly aimed at making Whole Foods Marketplace their grocery store of choice – this will no doubt be a game changer for Whole Foods, who struggled to become mainstream due to what was seen as a quirky, expensive organic offer.

Disrupting the Future of Grocery Retail

As one of the most disruptive businesses around, Amazon has begun sending grocery retailers into a frenzy of panic on both sides of the Atlantic, with M&S signalling the closing of 60+ stores, Sainsbury’s and Asda in discussion to merge and home-based assistants like Alexa and Google Home allowing customers to order and have delivered same day groceries, the future of grocery retailing is set to change the world.

Simon Isaac

Managing Director

Simon leads strategy and brand development, working with clients on high-level campaign development. He's a founder of the company, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and exhibiting photographer.