The Central Valley has one Whole Foods location in Fresno. Photo via Whole Foods
Written by David Castellon
Not surprisingly, Amazon isn’t entering the grocery business quietly.
On Monday, when Amazon’s acquisition of the Whole Foods Market grocery store chain closes, prices will be reduced on “best-selling staples across its stores,” according to a press release issued this morning by Amazon.
Those items will include Whole Trade bananas; organic avocados; organic large, brown eggs; organic, responsibly farmed salmon and tilapia; organic baby kale and baby lettuce; organic Gala and Fuji apples; organic rotisserie chicken; and 365 Everyday Value organic butter.
This is the first volley in integrating the organic food grocer with the e-commerce giant, and more product price reductions are planned down the road, the press release continues.
“We’re determined to make healthy and organic food affordable for everyone. Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality. We will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, said in a written statement.
“And this is just the beginning,” the statement continues, as “we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together.”
By purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon is taking a bold step into brick-and-mortar commerce, with more than 460 stores and access to potentially lucrative data on how shoppers behave offline.
Whole Food’s only Valley store is the one in Fresno, at 650 W. Shaw Ave in the Fig Garden Village shopping center.
The $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods was announced in June, at a time when the chain specializing in organic groceries was under pressure to increase its customer base amid increasing competition from other grocers stocking more organic products.
Combining Whole Foods with Amazon’s capabilities and reach have left no doubt the pairing will shake up in the grocery industry and likely trigger significant changes.
And Amazon appears to be doing just that on the heels of Whole Foods shareholders and Federal Trade Commission regulators approving the sale.
“Amazon and Whole Foods Market technology teams will begin to integrate Amazon Prime into the Whole Foods Market point-of-sale system, and when this work is complete, Prime members will receive special savings and in-store benefits,” the press release continues. “The two companies will invent in additional areas over time, including in merchandising and logistics, to enable lower prices for Whole Foods Market customers.”
Among the changes Amazon is planning is selling online Whole Foods’ private-label products — including 365 Everyday Value, Whole Foods Market, Whole Paws and Whole Catch — on Amazon.com.
In addition, Amazon customers will be able to order some non-grocery items online and have them shipped to their local Whole Foods stores for pickup, while returns also could be done at the stores.
Rivals already are scrambling to catch up, with Walmart — which has the largest share of the U.S. grocery market — expanding its grocery delivery service with ride-hailing service Uber.
Walmart also has announced plans to join forces with Google to let shoppers order goods by voice on Google devices.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.