- Amazon hasn’t hesitated in making major changes at Whole Foods after acquiring the grocery chain for $13.7 billion.
- Changes have included price cuts, selling Amazon tech in grocery stores, and an upcoming switch to Amazon Prime as Whole Foods’ new rewards program.
- More changes are on the horizon.
Whole Foods is swiftly transforming under Amazon‘s control.
Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods formally went through in August.
The changes began immediately, from cutting costs to internal restructuring.And, in the months since August, Amazon has only accelerated the pace of change.
Here’s what changes have been revealed so far – and how they’ll affect Whole Foods shoppers.
Amazon is testing two-hour delivery from Whole Foods.
- Getty/Eamonn M. McCormack
In February, Amazon and Whole Foods launched a test to deliver groceries and other goods directly from Whole Foods in four cities across the US. The company plans to roll out the service through Prime Now to more cities this year.
In the test, Whole Foods is basically used as an Amazon depot. Customers can order fresh produce, seafood, meat, flowers, baked goods, and dairy products for delivery, with items arriving at their doorstep within two hours.
Amazon credit-card holders now get 5% cash back at Whole Foods.
- Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Later in February, Amazon extended its 5% cash-back benefit to Prime members shopping at Whole Foods with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.
In 2017, the e-commerce giant began offering cardholders who are also Prime subscribers 5% back on all Amazon purchases. Cardholders who are not Prime subscribers now receive 3% cash back on purchases made at Amazon.com and Whole Foods.
Whole Foods immediately slashed prices — and announced another round of price cuts in November.
- Kate Taylor
The day the acquisition went through, prices of many Whole Foods staples immediately dropped. Some price tags decreased by up to 40%.
An identical basket of items from a Whole Foods location in Brooklyn went from $97.76 pre-acquisition to $75.85 post-acquisition.
In November, the grocery chain announced that it had cut prices on more items, with a focus on holiday staples and best-sellers. Whole Foods cut prices on a number of brands, including Siggis Yogurt, Chobani, and Tom’s of Maine, in addition to Whole Foods’ private-label 365 line of products.
The grocery stores began selling Amazon Echos and Echo Dots.
- Kate Taylor
According to Amazon, the popular voice-controlled speaker system will be available at select Whole Foods locations. A Brooklyn location advertised the Amazon Echo as the “pick of the season” the day the acquisition was completed.
In November, more than 100 stores started selling even more Amazon tech.
These Whole Foods stores now sell products including the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle e-readers, and Fire tablets.
Whole Foods offered major discounts on these Amazon products the week leading up to Black Friday.
Amazon is opening staffed pop-up stores inside a handful of Whole Foods stores.
Starting in mid-November, Amazon Pop-Up stores in Chicago, Illinois; Rochester Hills, Michigan; Davie, Florida; Pasadena, California; and Denver, Colorado, started giving customers the chance to test products before buying.
Amazon Prime members get special discounts.
Whole Foods announced that Amazon Prime would replace Whole Foods’ loyalty program.
In November, Whole Foods offered a “sneak preview” of what the new rewards program would look like. Before Thanksgiving, Amazon Prime members could buy turkey for 50 cents a pound cheaper than what other customers are paying.
Whole Foods is selling products on Amazon.com.
Soon after Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods went through, more than a thousand Whole Foods items were added to Amazon.com. Whole Foods goods are available on Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry, and Prime Now.
Currently, to purchase many of the Whole Foods items you need to have an AmazonFresh membership. AmazonFresh is Amazon’s grocery delivery service and costs Prime members an additional $14.99 per month.
Brand reps are being banned from stores.
Whole Foods locations will no longer allow brand representatives to visit stores to promote products or check up on how things are stocked and displayed, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Some Whole Foods stores have added Amazon Lockers.
You can have your Amazon.com orders delivered to a secure location inside certain Whole Foods stores until it’s time to pick them up. Customers can also use lockers to return Amazon items.
The grocery chain is getting bigger.
Instead of laying off employees, Whole Foods said it would hire more workers to implement the changes.
The companies are integrating point-of-sales systems.
This doesn’t mean much for the average shopper, but it will help make it possible for more of Amazon’s brands to be available at Whole Foods, and vice versa.