On the very first day Amazon officially owns Whole Foods, the e-commerce giant quickly made a big move – selling Amazon Echo and Echo Dot in Whole Foods stores.
Many customers walking into Whole Foods stores saw a section displaying Echo devices with a sign that read “Farm Fresh! Pick of the Season” on the side.
According to Amazon, the new Echo section was set up in select Whole Foods stores starting on the past Monday. The company is offering discounts on the devices – Amazon Echo is available for US$99.99 and the Echo Dot for US$44.99.
Last week, Amazon announced it would provide specials to celebrate the US$13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. The supermarket would offer lower priced groceries, and some products have price drop as much as 43% this week.
Whole Foods was positioned as a high-end organic supermarket where product prices were slightly higher than those of competitors such as Walmart and Costco. The new pricing strategy of Amazon will undoubtedly attract more customers, which could intensify competition in the U.S. grocery market.
Another big change is that the 460 Whole Foods stores will also become Amazon’s offline drop-off locations. The e-commerce giant plans to place Amazon Lockers in some stores so that customers can have their products shipped from Amazon.com to their local supermarkets.
Although the company did not say it, these offline customer-service locations may also become a place to display Amazon’s hardware products or even serve as an experience section.
After the integration, Amazon Prime members will get the benefits of Whole Foods’ customer rewards program and receive special offers while visiting the stores. Also, Amazon will sell Whole Foods products online through its existing e-commerce platform.
“The conventional supermarket has not evolved much in decades. But Amazon will likely drive drastically different shopping behavior in grocery. The survival of the fittest has begun,” said Karen Short, an analyst at Barclays Capital, to media outlet Bloomberg.