Last week Amazon announced that it would be buying grocery retailer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. At one fell swoop, Amazon has done what many of us have been predicting for some time now and moved into Brick and Mortar in a big way. It’s not surprising that after experimenting with a handful of pilot Amazon locations, the retailer made a big splash into Whole Foods' 435 locations.
It makes sense that the grocery category would be the first acquisition for Amazon into the world of brick and mortar as it has struggled to get the online pure-play formula right. If the Whole Foods acquisition is any indication, it shows that the pure play grocery business is probably not sustainable as if Amazon cannot succeed who can.
We will no doubt begin to quickly see the same technology that has wowed consumers in Amazon’s convenience stores infiltrate the bricks of Whole Foods. Many have been waiting to see grocery redefined in a digital age and without a doubt Whole Foods under Amazon will be shaping that future.
Even more so, I believe that the Whole Foods acquisition for Amazon will go far beyond just the grocery vertical. It will not be long before you can pick up your package or drop off a return. Not long after that they’re will be an extended catalog of items to shop from in Whole Foods that can be delivered from a nearby Amazon fulfillment center.
One can imagine a future where Whole Foods announces that you can get the same great products all under their new ‘Amazon’ banner and you have access to the millions of products in the Amazon catalog which you can have delivered to you to try on during your shopping trip or straight to your door step.
This isn’t just about grocery, this is about all brick and mortar, and if you’re a retailer who’s still trying to figure out how to leverage your stores in this digital age- the clock is ticking. Carpe Diem because if you don’t, Amazon will.