My two most recent visits to my local Whole Foods Market, including this past weekend, were distinctly different from preview visits. Lots more shoppers and some friendlier produce prices. Apparently this is what is called another “Amazon Effect” and it really should come as no surprise.
According to Foursquare data, both the Amazon acquisition and deep price cuts resulted in a whopping 25% increase in customer traffic.
Foursquare compiled location information during the first two days after Amazon completed its acquisition of the grocer. The data, culled from shoppers’ mobile devices, was compared with the same period a week earlier.
As reported by Bloomberg, Amazon acquired the upscale chain last month for $13.7 billion, a move that has brought turmoil to the supermarket industry and sent shares of grocery rivals tumbling. The same day it completed the acquisition, the e-commerce giant cut prices by as much as 43 percent on a range of items. Organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound, for instance. Organic avocados dropped to $1.99 each from $2.79.
The traffic data is an optimistic sign that Amazon can succeed in the brick-and-mortar world. In some areas, the jump in customers was dramatic. At stores in Chicago, 35% more shoppers visited Whole Foods stores, Foursquare found.
Amazon biggest obstacle with online grocery shopping is fresh foods and produce. Whole Foods certainly begins to solve part of that puzzle by building a good distribution network. And Wall Street certainly took notice:
However, Amazon with Whole Foods, still only holds a 2% foothold in the $800 billion grocery industry. Established companies such as Kroger and Wal-Mart dominate the market. And the appeal of organic food, which was unique to Whole Food shoppers, has been wisely co-opted and built out by the big groceries.
But this is Amazon we’re talking about and they intend to completely re-shape the grocery industry with the unrelenting Amazon Effect.
So what are some grocery shopping innovations that you see coming from Amazon?