Jon Hauptman, senior director of retail for grocery consulting firm Willard Bishop in Long Grove, Ill., said e-commerce in the supermarket industry is not highly developed. We spoke to food analyst David Portalatin of the NPD Group, a market research company.
The deal could put Whole Foods in a position to dominate two areas that grocery stores have been focusing on to gain new customers and increase revenue -convenience and high quality organic food, says J.P. Eggers, an associate professor at NYU Stern who focuses on tech and retail.
The deal prompted jokes and semi-serious posts on Twitter about a space-age shopping era with Amazon's artificial intelligence program Alexa replacing cashiers and ordering drone deliveries of kale. The shopper's Amazon account gets automatically charged.
"Fresh foods are the final frontier for Amazon", Portalatin said.
Google Shopping: Google also have ties with Whole Foods, and one possibility with the recent Amazon acquisition is transferring deliveries to Amazon, and far away from Google. This will help Whole Foods have an online delivery presence.
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Whole Foods stocks soared over 26 percent on the news.
That said, there is some speculation that Amazon could end up changing its plans and ultimately use advanced technology inside Whole Foods stores. Walmart is very much taking on Amazon and utilising its network to develop ecommerce and click & collect at its thousands of stores.
Amazon's move is a threat to supermarket chains like Kroger, fresh produce retailers like Sprouts Farmers Market, big-box retailers like Walmart and Target that have moved aggressively into groceries, and companies like Costco that sell bulk products, including food, at discounted prices. For example, Walmart has a "Scan and Go" pilot at one store where consumers can use an app to scan items as they shop and then pay using their phones, according to the JLL report.
The $42-per-share, all-cash deal, expected to close later this year, includes Whole Foods' net debt and represents about a 27 percent premium to its closing stock price on Thursday.
Feinberg also says that Amazon has a test store called Amazon Go in Seattle that is displaying how Amazon does groceries. There could be all kinds of initiatives to repurpose the brick-and-mortar store. And, perhaps most importantly of all, it will force every Whole Foods customer to strongly consider signing up for Amazon Prime, which turns Amazon into their de facto source not only for online retail but for instant video and other media.
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